Understanding meltdowns and how we can calm ourselves & our kids down…

 

For me understanding how our brain processes emotions, the triggers for the fight, flight or freeze responses in myself and in my kids has transformed my life!  I have also seen it transform many parents lives in coaching or in workshops as they understand that their child’s emotional brain is still developing and the ability to put the ‘brakes’ on is not yet mature.

Once we understand how the brain works – (in video above with this model of the Brain In the Hand by Dan Siegel) then we can begin to understand our own emotions and understand our child’s emotions.  What is the first sign for you that you are getting annoyed / irritated?  What is the first sign in your child?  What about for nervousness and excitement?  The Emotional Thermometer (in video below) is one of the best tools for developing awareness and understanding of emotions – a very important part of emotional intelligence.

Once we have this understanding and our kids have this understanding then we can begin to learn some mindful calming strategies – from simple 10 second activities to longer 5-10 minute activities suitable for young and old!

If you would like to learn more on the emotions and on calming strategies check out the NEW Understanding Emotions Online Course with short videos that you can access in your own time at your own pace and begin learning the skills needed to teach yourself and your children how to regulate emotions.

Which tool would be helpful in your house – the Flipping The Lid Brain in the hand model or the Emotional Thermometer?

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Gladdening our heart increases our resilience…

Breathing in the good – Gladdening our heart…Building our resilience…
Joy quote
I’m currently doing Brene Brown’s Art Journalling course on the Gifts of Imperfection! (https://www.ownlifeclasses.com/pages/brene-brown)
 
I totally recommend it – it’s fun and gets the creative juices flowing and covers topics such as courage, joy & gratitude & creativity! All things I need more of in my life!
 
Brene talks about something called ‘foreboding joy’ – and I love the concept! It is where feeling joy & gratitude makes us feel sooo vulnerable that we deflect it, move on or even go straight to a place of fear where we worry about what we will lose.
 
She shares as an example going in to say goodnight to her daughter and melting with love – then immediately being fearful that something bad might happen to her daughter – almost as a protective instinct!
 
This totally makes sense to me – to keep ourselves safe we are on the look out for all possible and perceived dangers – AND we hardly allow ourselves to feel, to breathe in joy! No wonder so many of us are feeling stressed and burnt out.
 
So this past week I’ve been noticing those beautiful joyful moments – that may be really fleeting – singing loudly in the car with my daughter, seeing a turtle while stand up paddle boarding, laughing with the kids, seeing a community of people working together and deliberately pausing and breathing it in and sitting with it!
 
The more I practice mindfulness the more I realise we have a choice as to where to focus our thoughts and mind…and the more I focus on loving kindness and gratitude and joy the better I feel…and the more resilient I am.
 
If overcome with vulnerability then Brene recommends saying out loud I’m feeling vulnerable and I’m grateful for…so we still acknowledge the moment!
 
Tara Brach has a great meditation on her website re: gladdening the heart and it’s about deliberately recalling activities you love to do and happy memories – the art journalling activities are great for that! And in the brain research now they know that dwelling on happy memories releases a hit of the feel good dopamine…so it’s lovely to stop and breathe in a good moment and store it as a happy memory to turn to for a mood boost when you need it!
 
So let me know how you gladden your heart this week – what golden moments, no matter how small or fleeting did you breathe in to your heart? 🙂 
My new Resilient Families Thriving Kids Online Coaching Course starts in August.  You can sign up here: https://mindfulparentingmindfulcoachingonline.thinkific.com/ 
Would love to have you share the journey with us! Cheers, Sara x

Resilient Families Thriving Kids

Imagine if we could raise kids to be emotionally and socially aware and with life skills that mean they are resilient, confident, capable, creative and content with life.   Imagine if we could prepare children for adulthood, for school and the corporate world by the way we raise them in our homes. Imagine if we could reduce the rates of depression and anxiety and rage in our teenagers and young adults by teaching social and emotional life skills and raise their awareness of themselves and others in their community in order for them to thrive?

This is the aim with my new Resilient Families Thriving Kids Program that will be launched in June with my new look website at www.mindfulparentingmindfulcoaching.com.  This is following on from the success of the Raising Resilient Kids workshops I’ve been running in schools and will incorporate all my knowledge and skills I have collected in mindfulness, life coaching,  parenting programs and communication skills.

My mission is to empower all parents/carers/grandparents to create resilient families and raise thriving kids who are confident, resilient and content.

Research demonstrates that resilient families demonstrate the following factors (Greg Eells – link); social connection, flexible optimistic attitude, strong core values, emotional awareness and the ability to be silly / find the humour in a situation.  All of these factors are included in the Resilient Families Thriving Kids program.

The world is changing rapidly and there is a need to equip our kids with the skills to be creative and resilient so that they can thrive in a future we cannot yet foresee.

Parenting is more challenging than ever with the cyber world at kid’s fingertips and today’s world and childhood being extremely different to the childhood parent’s experienced approx 30 years ago.

Learning one small strategy can make a world of difference in a family’s life …. from little things big things grow…. We can change the culture within one family and from there make a difference to the communities we live in now and in the future.

All parents I have worked with have wanted the following life skills / values for their children when they reach adulthood:

  • happiness
  • good health
  • confidence
  • good communication skills
  • great relationships
  • empathy
  • independent
  • resilience
  • emotionally self-aware and intelligent
  • educated
  • fulfilling job
  • kind and caring of others
  • respectful of themselves and others
  • contributing to the community
  • values – knowing right from wrong
  • positive outlook on life
  • good at conflict resolution / solving problems

It can be mind boggling to know how to achieve all of this in the chaos and busyness of everyday parenting. Resilient Families Thriving Kids incorporates strategies to achieve these life skills and values long term.

I teach and coach parents/carers/staff from all walks of life how to role model and teach their children/teens how to:

  1. Communicate effectively with siblings, parents & peers
  2. Problem solve creatively
  3. Understand and safely process their emotions
  4. Cultivate positive life skills, qualities and values
  5. Be present to the joyful /golden moments in everyday life
  6. Contribute to their community in a purposeful & meaningful way

Contented, resilient parents = contented resilient children.

I work from a solutions focussed and strengths based approach. I have found by teaching families about resilience, emotions, social skills and problem solving parents are empowered to make changes to their parenting and find win:win solutions to any behavioural issues they have been experiencing at home while continuously working to the long term goal of helping their kids to thrive now and in the future.

The content in the Resilient Families Thriving Kids Programme is based on the latest neuroscience and mindfulness research. It is strongly influenced by evidence based programmes that I have been trained in and facilitated including ACT Mindfully, MindUp, Bringing Up Great Kids, Positive Discipline, How To Talk So Kids Will Listen. These programs and Resilient Families Thriving Kids draw on the research of experts such as Dan Siegel & Brene Brown (link to resources page).

The Resilient Families Thriving Kids Program complements all Social & Emotional Learning programmes in school curriculums such as CASEL, Friendly Schools, Kids Matter & MindUp. The program is also beneficial to all professionals who work with families such as teachers, carers, educators, case workers. It can also be tailored to suit your school, preschool or organisation.

The Resilient Families Thriving Kids Program empowers parents to role model and teach kids how to be:

  • Compassionate
  • Content
  • Confident
  • Connected
  • Communicative
  • Creative
  • Caring
  • Capable &
  • Contributing to their community

 

And is organised in 6 easy to learn modules:

  1. Understand emotions and process them safely
  2. Effective communication & connection with others
  3. Win : Win Creative Problem Solving & Conflict Resolution
  4. Cultivate positive life enhancing qualities
  5. Learn how to be in the present moment and have fun, rest, play (offline!)
  6. Contribute to the community in a meaningful and purposeful way

The Resilient Families Thriving Kids Program is delivered through workshops and / or an online group coaching program online  as well as through 1:1 parent coaching via skype or in person.   The program supports parents to learn the skills and knowledge to adapt to their own lives and improve their own well-being as well as to teach those skills to their children.

Can’t wait!!

Raising Resilient Kids

in the rain 2

How can we help our children & teenagers to be more resilient, to ride out the bad times as well as enjoy the good times with confidence and competence?  And how can we, as parents, give our kids the tools and strategies to grow into capable, independent, resilient (& mindful) young adults?

These are important questions in light of the facts from BeyondBlue (http://www.youthbeyondblue.com/footer/stats-and-facts)that one in 16 young Australians is currently experiencing depression and one in six young Australians is currently experiencing an anxiety condition.

I have had these questions at the forefront of my mind this week as I get ready to facilitate some Positive Discipline Workshops.   Each time it has been raining after school and I consider whether to pick my children up from school or not, when my daughter forgot to put her school uniform in the wash or when my kids wake up late for school and beg for a lift instead of catching the bus or when it just hasn’t been possible to get them to their favourite sport / activity!  Sometimes I help them out because, well I’m their Mum and I like nurturing them a bit!, but when I don’t / can’t I keep reminding myself (& them if appropriate!) that I’m helping them to become more resilient (hopefully)!!

Positive Discipline (www.positivediscipline.com) is a fun, interactive parenting workshop and it focuses on teaching parents 4 key strategies to help them to raise resilient kids.  These are:

  1. Help our children learn how to deal with BIG feelings but don’t protect or rescue our children from feeling them!  Disappointment, rejection, anger and frustration are all a part of life and it is vital we learn how to cope with them.  As parents we can empathise with our children, name our child’s feelings and take the time to teach our kids how to self-soothe & self regulate using mindfulness strategies (appropriate for their age level).   Sometimes as parents we need to learn some mindfulness strategies on how to self-soothe & self regulate our own emotions too to role model to our children how to deal with the things life can throw at us!
  2. Be both kind & firm with our children, keep firm boundaries that help our children to feel secure and comfortable while still providing love and acceptance.   Our children will constantly test these boundaries and become angry or upset when they don’t get their own way but this just provides another learning opportunity to teach children how deal with BIG emotions, a vital skill to learn!  In my experience this takes a huge amount of mindfulness to see your child be frustrated & angry with you but to stand firm in a calm & kind way (I’m still working on this one!)
  3. Teach our children how to create a plan B and how to move from plan A to plan B with flexibility (again mindfulness skills are so helpful in this!). This gives children the strength to not give up, to keep problem solving, keep persisting and get there in the end!   The more we can role model doing this, in a mindful way, the more likely our children are to learn how to do it too!   I am now trying to talk to my kids about when my plan A doesn’t work out and what I do (e.g. take a deep breath, step back and look at my options etc) to move as calmly as I can to plan B, or C, or Z as often the case may be!)
  4. Encourage and teach our children to be capable & self-reliant and have a strong belief in themselves as capable & competent human beings!  This can involve encouraging kids to do their own problem solving, make their own choices/decisions (within your limits), contribute to the running of the household and have input into family meetings / family decisions, depending on their age level.   This one takes a huge amount of mindfulness as it is so often easier to jump in and rescue or do it ourselves. We often have to let go of our standards, let go of how others might judge us and mindfully encourage or teach our child to do things for themselves.   This means reconsidering

‘Never do for a child what a child can do for himself’ (a guiding principle of Positive Dsicipline) – a good reminder for us as parents that children feel a great sense of internal mastery when they are able to take on a challenge and successfully complete it using their own skills and problem solving!  This can be more powerful than receiving praise from parents and instead we need to hold the space for our kids to have a go at doing things, show them we have faith they can work it out and to encourage them  for their effort and not for the outcome!

More Information about workshops etc is available at Facebook: Mindful Parenting: Support & Education or http://www.,mindfulparentingmindfulcoaching.com