You know that moment when you’ve asked your child something at least four times and they’ve barely even paused to look at you, never mind doing whatever you were asking them to do? And your eye starts to twitch a little and you clench your teeth and ask once more…and they still don’t even give you a second glance?
I go through one of those moments at least once a day. And up until a few weeks ago, they usually ended with me snapping a demand in a loud voice or sending one or the other of my kids up to their rooms, all while feeling completely frustrated and worn-out. I really don’t like feeling so upset with my children, so when I learned about a new audio program called The Calm Parent from noted psychotherapist Debbie Pincus, I was intrigued. I was lucky enough to get to review the program for myself and I couldn’t wait to see what it was like.
The Calm Parent contains five audio lessons, a workbook and a bonus quick-relax CD. The key to the system is really the first audio lesson, because that’s the lesson that helps parents understand exactly why our kids can make us feel so crazy. It’s funny, but until Debbie reminded me, I had forgotten that the only person I could really hope to change in a frustrating situation was myself. I don’t know why something like that is so easy to remember when you’re dealing with another adult and so hard to remember when you’re dealing with your children! I had slipped into that mentality of trying to solve my children’s problems for them, of trying to “know best” for them all the time.
But a child doesn’t learn by doing exactly what his parents say. He learns by making his own choices and then dealing with the consequences of those choices. That doesn’t mean that children are allowed to misbehave, but when I realized that I felt frustrated by my children’s lack of listening because I was frightened about how that behaviour would colour other people’s opinions of them in a public setting, I was able to relax and let them live a little more.
Of course, realizing why our kids upset us so much is only half the battle, but it’s a crucial half! Until I really got this concept firmly planted in my head, I held off on starting the other lessons.
The remaining four CDs contained techniques to help parents calm down when they start feeling frustrated and to increase a parent’s skill at communicating more effectively with children. I really appreciated the inclusive and understanding tone of the audio lessons. We all know how frustrating kids can be, and it was nice that Debbie genuinely seemed to understand that too! With three teenagers, she’s been through those exasperating moments herself and really seems to want to help parents get through a confrontation feeling good about themselves.
I’ve been gradually working my way through the remaining audio lessons in The Calm Parent program, but what has been the biggest help to me has been realizing that I am not responsible for making my child’s choices for him. The other lessons were just as interesting and taught me some valuable techniques for keeping my emotions separate from my child, using curiosity and respect to resolve confrontations and separating myself mentally from a situation when I start to get emotionally entangled with my sons. I enjoyed the fact that the last two discs were special morning and night lessons. And I loved the Bonus CD, which contained ten techniques for calming down quickly if my kids are testing my last nerve.
For answers to your parenting questions and help with those frustrations we all face with our children, why not check out The Calm Parent Facebook page or follow @TheCalmParent on Twitter? It’s a great way to get tips, tricks and advice for building a strong and long-lasting relationship with your child!
I’m so glad I got the chance to review this amazing program and I’m excited to use it in the coming months to continue fostering a positive relationship with my boys. I know that my children are always going to find new ways to frustrate me. But with Debbie’s great advice and a little practice, I’m sure I’ll be able to deal with their outbursts in a way that is much more beneficial for both of us! Check out the program for yourself and enjoy a new closeness with your kids!