Think Peaceful Parenting is Impossible? Tips on How to Be Calm!

peaceful parenting

Let’s be honest. This parenting business can be stressful AF. And, unless you’re a practising Buddhist monk, you’ve probably flipped out at your kids a few (hundred) times. Like it or not, it goes along with the territory, and it doesn’t make you a bad parent. But, it’s important to know and understand the long term effects that regular bursts of anger can have on your children if you’re serious about trying to minimise them, and want to adopt a more peaceful parenting approach.

Kids who regularly see their parents angry end up being less empathetic than those raised in more calm households. These kids also tend to be more aggressive, are more like to suffer from depression, and perform worse in school*. So, if you’ve been convincing yourself that your anger issue isn’t something to worry about, think again.

The good news is, there are ways to get it under control, even if yelling has been your go-to disciplinary method so far. Peaceful parenting is an ongoing struggle for me and one of the things I need to constantly do is look at my own self care – if I let that slide, my patience wears thin and I find it a lot harder to stay calm. (Read more on Why Self Care Isn’t Selfish here).

Here are some easy tips on how to be calm and stop yelling:

Peaceful Parenting: Short circuit your anger

Notice the early signs of stress so you can become aware of when stress is coming on and stop it in its tracks. Be prepared for a potential meltdown from your tiny human and instead of getting angry, be ready to distract them with toys, food or one of their favourite comforts.

Peaceful Parenting: Give yourself a timeout

Take a break from the situation. Walk away or go into the next room. Distract yourself with an activity or simply bring your attention to your body. Watch the breath come and go, and as you breathe out imagine the anger being released from your body. Only go back when you have settled.

Peaceful Parenting: Express yourself

Explain your anger instead of releasing it. Pause, count to five and then communicate clearly what has made you upset. Own up to how you’re feeling and apologise for overreacting if you need to. Even if your kids don’t understand what you’re saying, you’ll benefit just from saying it aloud to yourself.

peaceful parenting how to be calm

Peaceful Parenting: Ask the right questions

Instead of asking why this is happening to you, ask yourself why this might be happening at all. Often, your kids don’t want to upset you, they are acting out because they want attention, or perhaps they are tired or hungry. See if you can be more compassionate with your kids by trying to understand where they are coming from, instead of going straight to disciplining them.

Peaceful Parenting: It Takes Practice

It will take to time to make each of these peaceful parenting habits replace your current reactions. Be patient with yourself and keep trying. Eventually you will be re-wiring your neurological pathways away from the angry route making way for a more calm, considered response and peaceful household.

*When Anger Hurts Your Kids, Matthew McKay PhD

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Catherine Nelson-WilliamsCatherine Nelson-Williams is the author of this article and founder of The Nursery Collective. She is a mum of two and juggles being a WAHM with blogging and running The Nursery Collective – a haven for mamas navigating the early years of motherhood, where you can find unique boutiques and services for Mum, Baby & Kids all in the one place.

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Why Self Care isn’t Selfish: How to take time for yourself without feeling guilty

Take Time For Yourself

As a mum, you’re always feeling guilty about something. You’re constantly questioning yourself, wondering if you are doing it right. You’re probably always feeling like you could be doing something better. While you run around taking care of everyone else, who is there to take care of you? While it would be nice to have a designated carer, most of the time it comes down to you needing to take care of yourself. But I’ll bet that as a Mum you don’t quite know HOW to take time for yourself (away from the kids) without feeling guilty, am I right?

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5 Benefits of Childhood Massage You Need To Know About!

Benefits of Childhood Massage| Massage for Infants and Children

by Allison Bayliss

Today we have Allison Bayliss, Paediatric Massage Instructor, joining us at The Nursery Collective to share the key benefits of massage for infants and children. Allison is a Melbourne Mum of two and the founder of Paediatric Massage Instruction.

My kids love massage – it was always part of our bath and bedtime routine when they were babies and this blog is a reminder for me to do it more often! On a recent trip to Bali, both of them had a few massages and enjoyed them just as much as the adults! I just enjoyed watching my youngest (who never stops moving) actually stop and relax - you can see for yourself in the first picture below!

After reading this article, I’m sure you will be inspired to try childhood massage out for yourself! Cathy x

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Up Close & Personal with Sarah Renae Clark

How one mum used her PND experience as inspiration for her business

Today we are closing out our monthly focus on Anxiety, Depression and Mental Health in early Motherhood with a special interview. We are pleased to welcome Sarah Renae Clark to The Nursery Collective, a creative business owner, illustrator and designer - and a mother who has battled with Post Natal Depression. Her story is raw and yet so inspiring, read on to see how she turned this experience into an truly positive new path...

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Dealing with PND & Anxiety in early motherhood

By Amanda Cavallaro (The Anxiety Wellness Queen)

The transition into motherhood can be bitter sweet for many. The excitement of starting this new beginning with your new bundle of joy not only brings about a learning experience but significant challenges and changes to your life. For many mothers, these challenges and changes are difficult to adjust to and they find themselves dealing with emotional, psychological and physical struggles.

Postnatal Depression (PND) and Anxiety are common mental health conditions new mums experience during this transition. PND can often be difficult to identify due to the typical ‘Baby Blues’ that so many women experience postpartum, unfortunately this can make things confusing. PND is commonly suffered by a new mum following childbirth and typically arises due to a combination of psychological challenges and adjustments, hormonal changes and result of fatigue or trauma.

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Using Mindfulness in Pregnancy

By Amanda Cavallaro (The Anxiety Wellness Queen)

“Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence”.  Eckhart Tolle

The modern life we live in can be quite complicated at times. Our attention is demanded in so many different areas that we find ourselves constantly on the go. Trying to keep up with our busy schedules, work, kids, family and friends invites stress and anxiety right through our doors! Even when we find time to relax, our minds are always wandering. Pregnancy and motherhood is one of the most precious, intriguing, rewarding, empowering yet fearful and stressful times in our lives. Therefore caring for your mental health and emotional well being should be placed high on your priority list!

It is amazing how far mental health awareness has come, to shed light, support and educate women and their loved ones about important issues such as Pre/Postnatal Depression. Women are becoming more knowledgeable and aware to look out for signs that may be of concern, thus receiving the care they need and deserve. Pre/Postnatal Anxiety, is another pressing issue. The statistics are continuously increasing and it is now estimated that 1 in 3 women will experience anxiety. Regrettably it is one of the most common mental health conditions in Australia today. Fear and anxiety often happens when you are physically in the here and now, although your mind is wandering in the future. Thankfully research is beginning to demonstrate the positive effects of practices such as mindfulness during pregnancy, to help reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

So...What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the awareness of being in the present moment by paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them. It’s the practice of slowing down the mind rather than letting it wander in so many different directions. Unlike some of the other practices, the beauty of mindfulness is that with awareness you notice your thoughts and you then allow them to come and go without any judgement and interpretation. It’s important to understand that learning how to be present in your life takes time and practice! You have most likely practiced mindfulness on several occasions without even realizing.

Elisha Goldstein, a mindfulness expert, talks about practicing mindfulness in 2 ways – Formally and Informally. When practicing formally, you are ‘Intentionally’ setting aside time in your day to practice. By focusing and meditating on your breathing, your emotions and your thoughts with awareness. Informal Mindfulness practice incorporates the same sort of technique into your everyday life and tasks. You can do this by simply consciously being aware during your daily tasks.

Pregnancy and motherhood is a great time to learn and practice Mindfulness. It encourages awareness and a real sense of curiosity, it can be one of the most important tools that you learn during pregnancy and carry through to motherhood. Pregnancy can create a sense of fear and vulnerability. Mostly due to the unknown. Not knowing what will happen next, how you will feel and the constant change in physical sensations. Having the knowledge and tools that mindfulness provides can be a God send!

Mindfulness for Anxiety

Anxiety has a way of capturing your undivided attention! It consumes your thoughts, your body, feelings, and emotions. One of the common key elements of anxiety, is focusing on the future. The future, meaning a year from now, a month from now or even what could happen later that night. There is A LOT of ‘What Ifs’ involved and as a result making you feel more and more anxious. So then HOW does mindfulness come into the picture I hear you ask?

Mindfulness focuses on the here and now, the present moment. The total opposite to anxiety. It’s about training the brain to A) Slow Down & B) Discover this wonderful sense of awareness you have hidden within, removing all the chaos and enabling you to focus.

Have you ever had the experience of getting in the car to go somewhere and then before you know it.. YOU'ER THERE. How miraculous hey? The strange part is, most of the time you have no memory of the steps you took to get there, because so much of what we do is on auto pilot. With anxiety, your mind wonders constantly, mindfulness teaches you to pay attention to the moment by using awareness, observation and a sense of curiosity.

Practicing mindfulness can be experienced ‘Informally’. You achieve this by placing your focus on the task at hand, such as, eating, showering, walking, cooking etc.. For example, while eating your breakfast you may already be thinking about what your day has in store for you, what you are going to wear for the function on Saturday or what is on the menu for dinner. When you introduce a more mindful approach, you are then able to take note of the aromas from your meal, the tastes, the textures, the visual aspects, such as the colours of your food. Using all your senses is KEY and a good way to start.

Why is Mindfulness important during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, we can spend so much time thinking and worrying about what’s ahead, that we spend little time enjoying the now. Part of the reason anxiety increases so much for women during pregnancy is that so much of the process is out of our control. It is scary not knowing how things are going, what the different pregnancy symptoms are and if they are considered "normal". Women often worry about having everything organised for the nursery, wondering what will happen during the labour and how they will cope when the baby arrives. So much pressure is put on a couple to make the perfect decisions, such as birthing choices, eating healthy, exercising and taking vitamins. If there is anything you take away from today’s post I would like to highlight that taking care of your mental health needs during your pregnancy is just as important as your physical health.

Top 5 Benefits of practicing Mindfulness during Pregnancy

1. REDUCES STRESS, ANXIETY AND WORRY
Practicing Mindfulness during pregnancy has been shown to lower a mother’s stress and anxiety levels and improve overall emotional and physical health. Mindfulness allows you to alleviate the feelings of guilt and judgement by placing your focus on the present moment.

2. CONNECT TO YOUR CHANGING BODY
Let’s face it. There is so much going on during pregnancy that we often can’t keep up! Mindfulness practice allows you to tune in and listen to your body and its needs. There is no better time to be in touch with your body than now!

3. GREAT PREPARATION FOR THE BIRTH
Focus and awareness during the birthing experience is essential and ties in very well with #2. Understanding that some things are out of our control and being able to go with the flow is part of the recipe for a positive birthing experience.

4. CREATES A POSITIVE MINDSET DURING LABOUR
The first thing we hear when we fall pregnant is everyone’s horror stories! Which in turn only creates more fear and anxiety. Mindfulness allows you to notice any potential negative thoughts during your birth
without getting caught up in it all. Simply just by observing, letting it go and continuing to be present of the sensations and happenings of the NOW.

5. SELF CARE AND COMPASSION
We often judge ourselves based on expectations, social norms and feelings of fear and anxiety. Mindfulness supports self-compassion through the pregnancy process because it allows us to observe our feelings and thoughts with self-awareness. This is very important because we often hide the way we feel due to the guilt or fear of experiencing them.

- Amanda Cavallaro (The Anxiety Wellness Queen)

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