To roar or to rear—thoughtfully? The question is one most parents know all too well. When commonly contentious situations arise, like turning off the TV during dinnertime, or denying a request for a candy bar on the supermarket checkout line, do you lose your cool or hit the pause button?
“Having a mindfulness practice of your own can help diffuse potential confrontations with your kids,” says Susan Verde, kids yoga instructor and the author of I Am Yoga.
When anxiety wells up inside, or you’re clenching your fists, “Acknowledge what is happening physically and emotionally in your own body and mind,” says Verde. “Once you take notice, you can choose your response, instead of just reacting.”
Before responding, pay attention to what you’re experiencing, and why you’re upset. “Doing so allows you to be more compassionate towards your kid as opposed to getting angry,” says Verde. “Maybe what’s transpiring is not as big of a deal as you initially thought.”
With an ability to approach a conflict without projecting your own emotional state, “You can deal with the situation as it is and perhaps with more empathy,” says Verde.
If, for example, you’ve repeatedly asked your child to…