Do you ever find yourself struggling with an interaction with your child? Do you feel guilty after yelling perhaps, but have no idea how to interact with him or her any differently? I was listening to Lewis Howes interviewing Susan David on his School of Greatness podcast recently and she shared something really valuable that I want to pass on to you.
I have worked with many parents who are not happy with how their interactions with their children go. Yet these parents have no idea how to create a different environment that fosters healthier interactions. When we are continuously triggered by the same topics, we create a familiar dance pattern between us and them. Then when that topic rolls around again, we both simply slip right into our familiar roles in the dance.
In order to change, we must interrupt the pattern, but how?
There are many different ways we can interrupt the dance pattern. In this blog I am going to share the wonderful questions that Susan posed to Lewis.
Who do I want to be in this situation?
What choice will get me there?
While there are many routes to improving your relationship with your child that I work with parents on, this is another fabulous one. When you ask yourself the first question, it gives you an opportunity to decide who you really want to be to your child in that interaction. Do you want to be The Punisher, The Leader, The Guide, The Consultant, The Friend or someone else? I always encourage parents to consider becoming their child’s advocate, guide and consultant rather than their dictator, or micromanager. Once you decide who you want to be in a given interaction, then you can ask yourself what choice will get you there. And then choose wisely and act accordingly.
If you want to be The Consultant, you wouldn’t get closer if you nag, cajole, threaten, punish, shame or scold. You may get closer if you talk calmly about what you can both do to resolve the issue. If we don’t first ask ourselves these two powerful questions (especially when we are triggered) it becomes far too easy to slip into ways of behaving that don’t get us any closer to who we want to be for our child in that moment. Raising our awareness level of ourselves helps towards being the person we want to be in every interaction. And this creates the healthy, connected relationship we dream about with our child.