Values are what bring distinction to your life. You don't find them, you choose them. And when you do, you're on the path to fulfillment.
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How to raise self-disciplined, connected, happy humans
Laura Markham Ph.D.
How do kids develop their sense of right and wrong?
Slow down, so you can listen.
The secret is managing our anger so we stay connected with our child while we set limits.
Every time you do this process, you diminish the emotional charge of one of your emotional triggers.
Ever wondered why one parent can keep a sense of humor in the face of a child's challenging behavior while another starts yelling?
The path to happiness requires you to accept and love yourself just the way you are, messy imperfections and all.
The most important factor is whether your child feels loved, unconditionally. That means she feels loved exactly as she is. Even when she's acting like a monster!
Remember, your child may be triggering them, but these are your emotions.
Observing what your child and other people are feeling, and commenting on it in a nonjudgmental way, teaches children to identify emotions in themselves and others.
Our fantasy of the perfect family holiday can drive us to do more, more, more – but more of what we didn't need to begin with can't fill those deep longings. There's a better way.
When your emotions are "triggered," your child looks like the enemy. You can't be the parent your child deserves at those times.
When kids feel understood, they're more likely to do what we ask, even if they don't see any benefit for themselves. So EMPATHY is your magic wand.
When we stuff our feelings down rather than acknowledging them, we carry them around like a boiling pot. We make ourselves sick and tired.
When kids express irritability towards us, often called "back talk," they're trying to tell us something and if we don't listen, they just escalate.
Most of the time, when kids (and adults) feel their emotions are understood and accepted, the feelings lose their charge and begin to dissipate.
The only way to keep your cup full in the constant vortex of parenting is to tend to yourself even while you tend to your child.
The truth is, what you say is not nearly as important as your attitude. Your child feels your warmth and love even when you don't say a word.
We all need to learn to stay grounded in our own dignity and compassion as we cope with the unhappy people who will inevitably come our way.
That doesn't mean you don't set limits. And sometimes children do have to do what adults say. But children also need to learn they have a right to say no sometimes.
What we can do is make the commitment to increase our ratio of good parenting moments, and keep working at it, day after day.
Limits give children essential practice in shifting gears between what they want, and something they want more--which is to cooperate and contribute.
Here's the key. Don't just decide to act differently next time. Instead, reprogram your subconscious, and give yourself a new script for how you want to respond.
But Sam isn't laughing because he's enjoying her pain. He's so upset that he can't cry. His laugh is letting off the tension of his upset feelings.
Our children learn self-control from the limits we set. But -- and this is critical -- only if we set those limits with empathy.
Cooperation is too complicated to be shaped by a simple habit, since it's driven by emotions and how connected your child feels to you at the moment.
Every interaction all day long is an opportunity to connect. Slow down and share the moment with your child: let him smell the strawberries before you put them in the smoothie.
Sometimes that means we just have to say no and stick to it. Even when our limit is greeted with tears. But remember, there's no reason to be mean about it.
Throughout your day, stop, breathe deeply and express gratitude for life having brought you to this moment. Notice that this doesn't take any extra time at all out of your day.
As children develop, they naturally want to explore the world and learn for themselves. But they need to know that their parents are available, providing a safe base for them.
Apologizing for your own off-track behavior doesn't mean you don't correct your child when necessary. He'll still know who's boss.
Laura Markham, Ph.D., is the author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting.