I began asking myself, “How do we know what’s best for kids?” How do I even know as a parent what’s best for my own kids? And then it struck me:
What’s best for kids is conscious adults.
It took no less than 30 minutes to de-escalate a fight between my two children.
First the yelling caught my attention. Two screams as a matter of fact. I peered out the window to see my daughter’s furrowed brow while she splashed my son in hot tub. He splashed her back and turned to get out.
I sat back down on the couch to continue reading my captivating fiction book.
Sometimes people disagree.
The twosome soon came barreling through the back patio door, arms and legs swinging, both at the height of frustration.
I watched the scene.
We’ve been here before. Let’s see how this plays out.
Towels began swinging and snapping as the kids drip-dropped water on the kitchen floor, and then the bathroom door slammed shut.
I called the kids over, told them to dry off and get dressed, and I surveyed their moods. Usually the dark cloud moves on, but five minutes later it hadn’t. I could still see it hovering on their faces.
I pulled the 6-year-old on my lap and asked him what started the fight.
Then I called my 9-year-old to sit on the other couch facing us and asked her to share her side of the story.
You’d think a certified coach would coach her kids, but I don’t always take the time.
Most of the time I get into habitual-parenting-mode, complete with parenting voice, and I lecture, reason, or use my “authority” as the parent to get them to see it my way.
But this particular night I paused…
and they hugged each other, laughed, told each other they loved each other (because they really do…we all do), and then I returned to my riveting book no less than 30 minutes later.
These four questions help me during professional coaching sessions to listen well.
- What do they want?
- Why do they want it?
- What’s getting in the way? (What perspective needs to change?)
- How do they plan to overcome it?
With these in mind, I checked “habitual parent mode” at the door and became a conscious presence for my kids.
- I took my time.
- I asked questions (What makes that important to you? and What did you really want to happen? and What are you feeling?) and validated emotions (It makes sense you feel that way).
- I slowed down enough to avoid autopilot and thought calmly through the moment.
I didn’t feel totally comfortable, and it didn’t feel like the easiest route, but it provided an opportunity to look within each other instead of at each other.
So what’s best for kids?
Conscious parents, grandparents, teachers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, administrators, secretaries, doctors, dentists, neighbors, and social media users…you and me, doing deep and real inner work first.
Reflect: How often do I commit to examining my own behavior and beliefs? What benefit might this have on my own children?
Rachel is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through International Coaching Federation (ICF) for INspired Leadership at ESSDACK. She helps professionals get where they want to be, faster. Contact her.
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