One of the greatest challenges of parenting our kiddos is keeping your cool. It can feel nearly impossible to stay calm when your 11-year-old daughter is throwing expletives your way or when your 14-year-old son has been suspended for the fourth time for skipping classes. You feel your blood pressure start to rise, you think about all you’ve done for her, the sacrifices you’ve made, and how you don’t deserve to be treated like this. Then, it comes. You lose it. You scream back. You say something you didn’t mean. You escape to your bedroom and slam the door.
There’s no doubt that parenting in an attachment-sensitive way is tough. It often goes against your natural instincts, experiences, and what feels right. It is worth it, though.
I want to help make it easier for you. Incorporate this one practice into your daily life to strengthen your ability to keep your cool.
Start a daily mindfulness practice. You can do this exercise before you get out of bed in the morning, while you shower, or right before you fall asleep. Set a gentle alarm for five minutes and devote that time to simply focusing on the sensation of breath.
First, choose a focal spot. It can be the sensation of air flowing in and out of your nostrils, the filling and emptying of your chest, or your belly rising and falling.
For the full five minutes, direct your attention only to that sensation. If thoughts start to pop into your mind, which they will, simply notice them and refocus your attention on your breath.
Over time, this exercise promotes an overall sense of calm, centeredness, and helps develop our ability to self-regulate. When done consistently, it can alter our brain structure. It’s pretty powerful.
All I’m asking is for you to try it. For one week. Are you thinking about the reasons this wouldn’t work for you? Or why you can’t find the time? Right now, write them down in the comments below. Leave them here, with me, and move forward with your mindfulness practice. You’ll be glad you did.