- Create harmony, connections and restore balance in your home
If you want to create a harmonious home a good place to start is by making everyone in the family feel heard and ‘feel good about themselves’. We can do this through ongoing connection, relationship building and safe communication.
We can’t avoid having to discipline our kids and we can’t avoid conflicts in our home. But this becomes much easier to handle if our starting point is connection instead of battles and stress.
‘People will forget what you have said. People will forget what you have done. But people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou
Once we have built a strong connection through safe communication with our kids (and this goes for our partners too!) they are much more likely to want to cooperate with us and listen to us when we need them to. Furthermore, it will help us to restore the balance and move on without anybody feeling shamed, blamed or disrespected.
How can we create positive connection and communication? We can do this by working on ‘decoding’ and understanding the situation and accepting the here and now.
What is decoding? It is when we consciously work on understanding the current situation, people and ourselves without judgement. Decoding is when we work on translating what is in front of us and what is going on behind the scenes. We accept the here and now and tune into what IS, not how we want it to be or trying to fix it. It is when we are curious instead of furious, and stay open minded to what is going on…
How to practise decoding? It takes a bit of time and is something we have to work on. But practice leads to habit so hold on and don’t give up:
- Decoding yourself:Check in with yourself. We need to be able to quickly check in with ourselves and how the situation makes us feel.
- Before you do or say anything STOP!Allow yourself to take a deep breath.
- THINK:What am I feeling right now, what is going on inside of me? Anger, frustration, hate etc. Accept that this IS how you feel right now and that is OK. You cannot get rid of a feeling but you can choose what to do with it so it doesn’t hijack the outcome and what you do or say next. Decoding by understanding and translating our own feelings and moods helps us to respond instead of react, to be assertive and measured instead of aggressive and impulsive. Which will make us more open minded to what is happening around us.
- Talk yourself ‘in and down’ the feeling scale: ‘I am angry but that is OK, we all get angry sometimes and my child is normally really good so it’s ok if she isa bit upset right now’, ‘he will grow out of it; it’s just a phase’, ‘we are both a bit tired which makes us both on edge’. If a negative thought pops up i.e. ‘I am so mad I could hurt him right now’, ‘why me, what have I done to get a family like this?’, ‘I am such a bad parent’ etc. STOP yourself, breathe and check in with yourself.
- Decoding the situation: Check in with the situation: Once you have got control of yourself turn your attention and curiosity to what is around you: the situation – tune into everything that is going on around you: the room, the noise, who is there, the smell etc. Connect to what is going on.
- Your mind should be full of the here and now (mindfully). No multitasking or distractions (i.e. phone, email, cooking, tidying up etc.), give your full attention to what is happening. I like to think of the moment as a ‘bubble of mindfulness’, with you, the people involved and the situation inside. EVERYTHING else outside the bubble does not matter, right now. It can wait till later.
- Decode what your kids think and feel:Check in with your kids:
- What is going on within them right now. Tune into them. Listen to them (even though you might not like what you hear or agree with it – just listen)
- You can show that you are listening by showing that you understand them by using words such as: ‘I can HEAR that you are angry right now because you are screaming and I UNDERSTAND that you are upset because you are not allowed to have more screen time- and it is OK to be mad sometimes’. Remember, they can ask, you can say no and they can have a reaction to it. It still does not change the fact that they cannot have more screen time! But you have shown that you understand the anger and that in itself can often contain it. Here you are connecting at a higher level and instead of making them feel shamed or blamed you make them feel good and respected.
- Decode the words your kids use: Help them translate what they are trying to tell you. Often what our kids say and feel are two different things so try to help them make sense. ‘I HATE Sam because he took my pencil without asking’, you: ‘So you are upset with Sam because…’ or, ‘You are so stupid’, you: ‘I can hear you are really angry with me right now’.
Once we use decoding as a starting point to all connection and communication we will find that not only do we suddenly understand the situation and child better we also start responding in a way that makes our child feel good about themselves. This will lead to better cooperation and team work that will create a harmonise home.
Good Luck from Mette Theilmann