Did you know that mom and dad loons, carry their little ones on their backs? They do this for the first several weeks to keep the chicks safe and close by. But even as the chicks are getting a bit bigger and are swimming alongside the parents, they may still climb on board for a ride when they're scared, stressed or overwhelmed.
Last summer on a run along a northern Minnesota lake, I came upon a family of loons enjoying the shallow, quiet water. I startled them as I ran past, and the two big chicks scramble onto one parent's back and they all took off to “safer water”. They only swam a little ways down the shore before the young loons were back in the water swimming and exploring. It got me thinking about parenting...
When our kids are scared, stressed or overwhelmed (even as they get older, and are past the "baby chick" phase), how can we take a lesson from the loons and partner with our kids? Can we "carry them” for a short distance, by traveling with our child through the struggle, until we reach safer water? Then, we can let them swim on their own again.
A struggling child needs our support to co-regulate, when they can't regulate by themselves.
If you could use some additional support for a season of struggle with your child, reach out to me. I would love to talk with you. Tap the "Contact me"
Do you have a kid that likes to know what's coming? Some kids thrive on having a schedule or at least knowing a rough plan for the day. Help them out and you will have better cooperation, more fun and less meltdowns over transitions.
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I call these moments an "Invitation to do battle!" And guess what??? You don't have to accept every invitation you receive! You can politely, and calmly pass up the fight. How?
Here are some ABC's to a peaceful settlement.
A: AVOID taking it personally. Behavior is communication.
AVOID a negative internal narrative. You know what that negative narrative sounds like in your head. It may try to tell you your child is selfish, spoiled, ungrateful, taking advantage of you, always tries to ruin things, is going to grow up to be a failure... and on an on.
AVOID losing your cool.
B: Bomb diffusion! Help your child calm down. This looks like having empathy, being curious about what's going on inside your child that's causing him to be upset, and co-regulating. Tip: work on staying calm yourself and you will be much more successful helping your child calm.
C: Connect: Find ways to connect with your child. Let your kid know you are there for him and it's ok for him to have big feelings. Could you add a little fun into the situation? Could you help your child with the task that's overwhelming him today? "Hey buddy, why don't we set a timer and see how much of these toys we can pick up together in 3 minutes?" Can you give an extra hug?
Let's talk about these strategies and how to put them to use in YOUR situations!
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