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My child is driving me crazy! (part 1)

Thank you Aptos parent for sending in this challenging situation!

Frustrated Mom!

"At the end of the day when I'm tired, I'm just trying to get things done. Keep dinner, bath, and bed moving in the right direction. I am needing cooperation and calm. Instead my kids are fighting. I talk to them...again. I ask my 8 year old son to help set the table and instead he complains, "Are we having THAT again? Yuck, I hate that!" No support, just backtalk! Now I'm feeling angry and just want to slap his rude mouth so he feels grateful he even HAS a Mom WILLING to fix him dinner. Arrrggg! What can I do?" ~Frustrated parent.

It makes sense that you'd be frustrated and angry. After all the effort and care you've focused on your family, the last thing you want is push back. Are you yearning for partnership, understanding, ease? It sounds like you know slapping your son's rude mouth isn't going to teach him, nor get the behavior you want. But what can you do with all of the real anger energy you have coursing through your body? I hear you wondering what other choices you have to get the partnership and harmony you desire.

It is hard when you are at your limit not to get stuck dumping your upset onto your child. The 5 Steps to Connect is a way to notice our biology so we don't unconsciously shame, blame and attack each other. In the above moment, a way to notice is BBB: Breathe, Body Scan, Broadcast. These work to interrupt triggered reactions before they get dumped on who's near, your son.

Breathe: Breathing deeply is a way to calm your limbic system to interrupt the FIGHT ready to slap and unleash a torrent of shameful words.

Body Scan: It helps to notice your body's tension clues: tight jaw, clenching trapezoid muscles, constricted throat, glitching stomach, rapid heartbeat.

Broadcast: Name what is happening, without saying the word 'YOU'. "My heart is beating fast, my breathing is shallow like I can't get a breath. I want to make it stop! I am feeling angry, and out of control, and tired! I want co-operation and partnership! I want this to be easier!" Naming what 'is' allows you to validate your experience and shift your energy.

(This can be said silently in your head, or quietly to yourself, or loudly in the bathroom or to model in front of your kids.)