You pick up the kids from school and receive the typical grunts and groans about their day.
Once at home, they meander through the kitchen opening and closing cabinets, complaining about the lack of “good snacks” in the house.
Then, the fighting begins.
No one wants to share the remote. The arguing gets louder. It’s hard to ignore.
You enter the room and they both begin to frantically describe (in horrible detail) the misdeeds of the other.
By this time, your patience is shot. It’s been a busy day, you’ve got to find something for dinner, and the last thing you want to do is listen to this bickering.
Pause the scene.
This moment could go a number of directions. You could yell. You could inflict a year-long grounding. You could send everyone to time out. You could start to cry.
Or, you could repeat your parenting mantra.
What is a parenting mantra?
A parenting mantra is a short statement that reminds you of a quality or characteristic that you desire (or already possess) as a parent.
This statement can be repeated numerous times, out loud or in your head. In the heat of a moment, it may help you make decisions that line up with the parent you want to be.
Using the example above, instead of responding immediately, you may repeat the phrase, “I am calm.” Or, “I am patient.”
Your mantra is going to be unique to you and your situation. When creating your mantra, use positive words, visualize what you will DO instead of what you DON’T want to do.
The possibilities are endless, but here are a few examples:“I am confident.” “I slow down and listen.” “I show my love through quality time.” “I am patient.” “I am loving.” “I am forgiving.” “I focus on the positive.” “I am the parent.” “It’s ok to say ‘No'” “I can let go of this.” “I support my child’s independence.” “This is not an emergency.” “God, give me strength.”
Think of a common scenario in your home, one that you would like to handle differently. Or, identify one area of your parenting that you would like to improve. Create a quick, simple statement to try as your mantra.
Write it down, and put it somewhere visible (car steering wheel, kitchen cabinet, mirror). Chances are, you’ll need to refer to it often.
Over time, the mantra will become second nature, and so will your response.
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