Let's focus on an important rule from Garry Landreth and his Child Parent Relationship Training.
Be a thermostat, NOT a Thermometer!
What does that even mean??
Thermostat= You set the temperature (controlled) Thermometer= Reacts to the current temperature (reactive)
In our relationship with our children, and others, there are times when things can become tense. We need to set the tone and work to avoid being reactive.
Perhaps your child is having a tantrum or becoming upset, or maybe your spouse is experiencing stress that is leading to a tense situation. In these moments we have a CHOICE. We can choose to respond in a way that maintains the heightened emotions and continue in a negative direction OR we can choose to set our own tone and, at the very least, not make the situation worse.
*Challenge*: Think about times in your day and/or week where your relationship with your child, or other loved one, becomes strained. This will help you plan ahead and consider strategies to help you regulate your temperature. For example, this could be dinner time, bed time, or any other time you foresee potential struggles. Make sure you are in control of your own temperature and work to maintain that temperature throughout the interaction. This takes practice and it is not always easy to remember. Do not feel badly if you miss an opportunity, that is OK because the good (and bad) news is that you will have another chance!
After you have experienced a tense situation and tried to maintain your temperature, write down how the situation played out. Then you can look back to decide what you would like to do differently and be prepared for the future. Still record in your journal if it worked out in a positive way as a reminder of how you maintained control of yourself.
*Tips*- During these heated moments try to keep an image of a thermostat in your mind to remind yourself that you are in control. Also, refer back to your journal to remind yourself of your week 1 activity. It can be helpful to remind ourselves of positive things when we are becoming frustrated.
*Review* - Feel free to continue adding to your list from week 1. Just remember the goal is to list things you love about your child. Dig deeper to avoid listing things your child does that makes you happy. Sometimes what we love about our children does not always make us happy. For example, you may love your child's strong and independent attitude but that same attitude that we love can provide challenges and sometimes makes us unhappy.
Goodluck this week and stay cool!