Foundations are important. And, I am not referring to those physical structures. I am referring to the foundations in our relationships, particularly the relationships with our kids. Principles are the foundations in our relationships. We are not born with principles. We learn them. We develop them. If you are like me, and many people I know, you have issues. We all have issues. These issues will most likely affect your principles.
The great gem of being a parent is becoming awake enough, the kind of awake where you stop perpetuating unhealthy habits in your life and consequently your family’s life, to build a better foundation. This also translates into building stronger principles. If we are building stronger principals, then we will have to clean up some of our issues.
Here are 5 simple things to do with our kids that help us clean up our issues, build stronger principles, and lay a new solid foundation.
~ Admit when you are wrong
We have all been there. We disciplined our kiddos and then we realize that we were too harsh or that we misunderstood something and the disciplinary action did not match the issue. If we are awake enough (see above for what I mean by this), then we will probably feel bad. So what to do? Ignoring is not the answer. Admit you are wrong and that you make mistakes. This is how our kids learn – by watching our behaviors and emulating them, not by our endless parental monologues. Sure, words count. Our behavior counts more.
~ Tell them about your day
Kids are in this amazing alternative universe called the present moment. We adults are yearning for that stuff they call “high on life”. The truth is that that “high on life” stuff is contained in those little conversations, those passing moments where we are hurried to get to our point about principles instead of actually building stronger principles, we kind of snap them in half. Start by asking them about their day, then tell them about yours. Just tell them. Who cares if they do not want to hear it. Just do it anyway. Be succinct at least. Not every day will elicit Oprah Winfrey worthy discussions, but some days it does happen. Then those little things turn into really big things. They are called foundations. These are the moments that lay the foundation for a healthy relationship and start to melt some of our issues away.
~ Be silly
I am not suggesting you need to go invest in clown training school, but drop the serious parent face sometimes and just be silly with your kiddo. Shake it out, laugh it out, and dance it out. It is a great way to relieve tension (and to melt our issues away). Make a silly face next time your kiddo least expects it. Or start to do some version of the Whip It dance and get the “Oh my goodness, my parent is so embarrassing look” that turns into hilarious laughter that is contagious. Adding some silliness into your relationship at the most unexpected times adds some healthy novelty and fun to your life and adds to the strong foundation. This kind of interaction reminds us that to create life successes, including in our relationships, we must take the serious mask off and put the silly one on. It is necessary fuel.
~ Breathe it out
Show them the difference between a frustrated shoulder tightening “hah” out of your mouth and the kind of “hah” breath that is conscious, intentional, and cleansing. This is not about turning you into a life-long committed vegetarian-eating, essential oil wearing yogi, but this is a great way to learn how to handle your frustrations, anger, and other intense emotions that can override your principle building. Those intense emotions are likely to pop up on a daily basis and if they are not handled with care, they can add to our big messes we bring into the relationships with our kids. Our goal as parents is to minimize this mess and to start building a strong foundation from a cleaner slate mentally. It is easy, take a big inhale in through your nose (long, slow, deep), and exhale the sound of “hah” out of your mouth (long, slow, deep), and try to make the exhale longer. Try it before your rampage on your next parenting monologue.
~ Hugs to love
It may seem obvious right? Hugging our kiddos is so normal. As our kiddos get older, homework is more extensive, and more activities are added to the schedule, ask yourself how often you are hugging your kiddos. I am not talking about those fake feeling side hugs. I am talking about a real heart-to-heart bear squeeze hug that lasts at least 30 seconds to a minute and then look your kiddo in the eye and tell him you love him. That is a real hug. That is the kind of hug that melts your mess away and it will melt any stresses in your relationship with your kiddo away. This is a very grounding way to reconnect each day.
When we practice these 5 simple things everyday with our kids we start to melt some of our mess away, build strong principals and a stronger healthy relationship foundation with our kiddos. What principles are we teaching here? We are teaching trust, self-regulation, emotional management, authentic love, synergy, and failures turning into successes. This is some pretty awesome stuff that we can show our kids, not just sometimes, but by incorporating these simple things into our daily lives. Now if we all did this, just think of the next generation and what kind of world they will create.
Om Shanti Om ~ Athea