First things first, it’s our first birthday!! One year ago we launched Voices of Your Village podcast and my heart couldn’t be fuller with how beautifully it has grown. Thank YOU for being on this journey with us. In this week’s episode of Voices of Your Village I’m diving into “you’re stupid” and other kid phrases that can be frustrating to hear as adults. And the first thing I’m chatting about is making sure that tiny humans do not feel responsible for our emotions because they’re not. We are in charge of processing our own emotions and our kiddos need to know that whatever they are bringing to the table, we can handle it. If they’re worried about triggering us, they may stop bringing the hard stuff to us, for fear of upsetting us.
So instead of reacting to “you’re stupid” or whatever the phrase or behavior may be, we need to be looking at the emotion underneath. When we are able to regulate our own emotions, we can coach them through their emotions. Meeting them with empathy and holding space for them to become calm again is powerful. Remembering that they’re having hard feelings and don’t know what else to do with them can make it easier to focus on meeting them with empathy rather than quickly reacting in the heat of the moment. Once your kiddo is calm, then you can move onto problem-solving and talking about how to handle a similar situation in the future.
It can be empowering to know that it isn’t our job to solve our kiddos’ problems or make sure that they’re happy. It’s our job to help them cultivate a toolbox of coping strategies so that they can process their difficult emotions. Right now, this requires a lot of intention and consistency on our part. But the payoff is huge because eventually they will be able to do it themselves and it’s a game-changer.
The key to responding, rather than reacting, is self-care. Finding a way to care for yourself so that you can regulate your own emotions is crucial. Sure, sometimes you’re going to react quickly in the heat of the moment, it happens. But if that’s the go-to reaction as a trend, it’s a sign that you’re in need of some self-care. You can’t pour from an empty cup and making yourself a priority is not selfish, it is a cornerstone of effective parenting.