I’m sure you know the drill—buttons pushed, kids not listening, fighting in the backseat of the car. Whining, sassing, talking-back, door slamming. And how about that frustrating “last word”? You know, when you have a child who is ultra good at getting in the last word, and it drives you nuts because you want (and feel you deserve because you are the adult…) the last word too? That was my daughter and me.
Or maybe you have the teen who is lost in their digital devices and offers up no words at all. That can really get a parent anxious. Or how about the tantrums by both toddlers and teens? Those teen tantrums caught me by surprise. Ever have a sobbing high-schooler in your lap? I have, and it was tough—all those big feelings pouring out of an adult-sized child. And then there’s the yelling, the bribing, the rushing to make everyone just stop and listen and behave. Right now. Oh yes, I’ve been there too.
And then there’s the guilt you feel as things just disintegrate...everyone melting down—including you. I know it well, for I’ve had my share of it—the guilt over being a lousy parent because I totally lost it with my child…or the heat rising in me as I thought, “I’m right, and they need to listen.” Those mornings filled with angst and rush and the push-push-push to get out the door…and everyone ultimately leaving upset—those were especially guilt-ridden for me. I’d spend the entire day wishing for a do-over…to reconnect and make sure my child wasn’t upset anymore…hitting myself over the head for letting things get so out of hand that we parted mad at each other…feeling miserable all day long.
And really, I was just tired of arguing. I wanted to feel better. I wanted my children to feel better. And most important, I wanted our relationships to feel better—to be healthy and happy and calm. It was overwhelming at times.
Enter PAUSE. What a breath of fresh air. I first learned of the power of pausing through a favorite book of mine (ScreamFree Parenting). I began to practice it in my relationships, with my coaching clients, in my everyday life. I shared it with you in my first book, Parenting Inspired; Finding Grace in the Chaos, Confidence in Yourself, and Gentle Joy along the Way. I now bring it to you all on its own, for PAUSE has been the most positively influential “tool” for me and many, many others. If you want to focus on one thing that you can be guaranteed will create positive change in your life—a calmer self and household, healthier and more positive relationships, and deeper connections to yourself and to others—then I encourage you to focus on pausing.
It changes lives. It changed mine and continues to do so in sometimes surprising ways. I first saw the results of PAUSE when it began deintensifying heated moments with my teen daughter, allowing us both to cool off. Now we could reconnect from a more peaceful (or at least productive ☺) place, able to listen more carefully, to collaborate together. Anger, frustration, even guilt were replaced with calm connection. Eight years later, our relationship has thrived and continues to grow in positive ways. Your relationships with your children can too.
PAUSE took me even further. As I got better at using PAUSE to calm down when I felt the heat rising, I noticed some things. I noticed how I started to feel more relaxed in general, more aware of how I—and others—felt. I became clearer about what I wanted and needed…both in my relationships with others and in everyday, seemingly “little” moments—such as deciding what to make for dinner (some nights that made all the difference in how I—and my family—felt!), or choosing whether or not it was necessary (or healthy!) to squeeze in one more activity despite the pleading of my kids. Then I realized I was taking more time for me—I was feeling better, inside out. Patience ruled. My sense of humor improved (to my husband’s relief…☺), the time I spent with my girls became increasingly more satisfying and joyful.
Here’s the coolest thing that PAUSE has done for me. It’s led to a calm connection with myself that continues to grow and has become the foundation for my parenting and living well. Even when things go south (and they do!), the calm connection I’ve grown through pausing has me re-centering more quickly, able to move through the yuck with a bit more grace and confidence, actually feeling comfortable in all those big feelings. Oh, and the joy! It began to weave its way through every single day—in little ways at first, and then more noticeably over time. Joy—just think what could be different if this was your foundation from which you parented each day!
This is the power that PAUSE brought into my life. It can do the same for you. You can embrace it as a “simple” tool to help you move through conflict with your child, or you can take it further and discover the greater gifts it brings. Either way, it can change your relationships and life in positive and powerful ways. Let this book inspire you to continue the hard work of parenting well. Let it show you how to use PAUSE at its basic level, allowing you to calmly handle those button-pushing moments (and days), or let it inspire you to take PAUSE deeper, to completely transform your way of being. Enjoy and take encouragement and inspiration from the stories and examples from parents just like you. Let it gently guide you as you grow stronger in the power of parenting with calm connection and experience more peace, ease, and joy in all your relationships.
Let it change your life.
Author, PCI Certified Parent Coach®, ScreamFree Certified Leader)
Denali Parent Coaching, LLC