When it comes to parenting advice, there’s certainly no shortage out there, right? Especially all the advice that centers around how to yell at your kids less.
Yet, despite all the fabulous and encouraging how-to-yell-at-your-kids-less suggestions that exist online and in books, there’s something foundational that I often see left out of the equation.
I want to shine a light on that under-discussed area of parenthood that is so crucial for how we show up to our families:
Our nervous systems.
We can equip ourselves with all the parenting scripts and meltdown methods in the world, but if we are attempting to use those tools alongside our own dysregulated nervous system, our frazzled nerves are gonna win out every time. Not to mention, our kids know when we are energetically faking it. They pick up on our vibes ya know?
In fact, science says so. Leaning into your own nervous system to help calm your child is called co-regulation, a term you have probably heard in the conscious parenting space. And, when we tap into our own physiological state, we can start to consciously de-escalate conflicts and increase connection. In order for co-regulation to work, at least one person’s nervous system has to be in a calm and safe space. If you don’t feel safe, your child won’t feel safe.
Your nervous system is communicating with your child’s nervous system all the time, and you can control the message it’s sending.
When I think about tending to our nervous system so we can parent the way we aspire to, I like to think about our nervous system as the soil in the garden. You can buy the best seeds and the most expensive flowers, but if you’re planting those in dry, infertile soil, we know they won’t bloom.
So, let’s talk about some strategies you can leverage in those heated moments to help de-escalate conflict AND some strategies you can use on your own time to keep your nervous system (soil) calm, curious, and compassionate.
IN THE (HEATED) MOMENTS
- Inhale through your nose for 4 counts. Hold it for 4 counts. Exhale for 8 counts. Repeat 3 times. Long exhales slow down your nervous system.
- Repeat “this is not an emergency” to help remind yourself that you are safe.
- Use words as little as possible, and instead, become mindful of your body language, facial expressions, posture, and breathing.
ON YOUR OWN
- Walks in nature
- Music that you deeply connect to
- Moving your body
- Finding/using scents that you find relaxing
Focusing on your nervous system and creating a healthy inner landscape is one of the most important aspects of the Rebirth Journal.
READY TO GROW A NEW WAY OF PARENTING?
If you’re ready to grow a new way of parenting, cultivate more self-compassion, and relate to yourself and your child in a way that honors both your wholeness and worthiness, I would invite you to check out the Rebirth Journal to see if it’s a good fit for you!