Years ago, when my son was about 4 yrs old and struggling so much, I reached out for help to “fix” him. I was so relieved to find that help through an amazing local organization BUT, to my surprise, they wanted to work with me instead. I was taken aback – I already felt like a bad mom since I needed to seek help. Most people, I’m sure, would take this as a personal slight too. Thankfully, I had an older son who didn’t seem to struggle and I was able to justify it to myself that I must have done something ok. However, what I eventually learned was that it was a case of my parenting being a mismatch with what my struggling son needed.
Fast forward a few years (ok..more than a few since, yikes, he’s 13 now!) and I’ve learned so much more based on what started all those years ago.
I have learned that it really does all begin with me….
When dealing with my son’s explosions, I needed to get myself calm before I could be the calm that he needed me to be.
When attempting to collaboratively problem solve an issue with my boys, I needed to determine my expectations, my motivations for those expectations and ensure they were reasonable before involving them.
When dealing with my son’s school about his needs not being met, I needed to get my emotions in check before walking into that meeting.
When teaching my son to be aware of his body’s reactions to stress, I needed to first, be aware of my body’s reactions to stress.
We cannot possibly empathize or teach something that we don’t have knowledge or awareness of ourselves.
It all begins with me.
But how…how can we do this?
We work on ourselves; our self-regulation, our self-control, our self-care. We do this by the same processes that we use for our children…we seek professional help if needed, we build our tribe, we reduce stress triggers that we have, we find a few minutes each day to practice self-care that is meaningful to us.
Is it easy? No way!
Is it necessary? Absolutely.
Is it possible? Yes!
I am proof of that!
Penny Mayo, a Parent Solutions Consultant, Helps Families Help Themselves! Struggling with finding support for her challenging kids, Penny changed her career from engineering to working with kids with different needs. Through experience, Penny has honed her ability to see the stressors that kids face and to collaboratively solve the problems that stand in the way of a calm home front. Now, Penny teaches other parents how to do this for their own families. She provides consulting and, workshops and is developing on-line resources for parents.
You can find Penny at www.pennymayo.ca and on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pennymayo.ca/