Stop. Breathe. Listen. Learn.

Like most people my age, I still am using Facebook, and a friend posted one of those occasionally thought-provoking memes saying, “Give your best advice in four words or less.”

I am not really one to give advice.  I have a good life, but no grand successes that people envy enough to ask for advice.  Lately though, as I have tried to grow as a parent, I have had to learn to manage my emotions.

Without judging my parents, I did not have good role models for managing my emotions growing up.  My mother could be hot-tempered, and my dad had little patience for things not going his way.  My mother is deceased, my father has changed a lot, but I still feel I missed some critical lessons in emotional awareness and self-control growing up. I find that my deficiencies are in full view as a parent.  My daughter can be annoying at times, but with practice, I have discovered that if I stop getting emotional, breathe to calm down, listen to what she is telling me both linguistically and emotionally, then I learn what makes her tick.  What makes her upset, angry, and challenging.

It does not mean I can solve her difficulties, but I can react with calm, rather than dismissive annoyance or, worse, anger.  And that makes me a little bit better as a parent.


About Chris van Hasselt

I eat, sleep, play guitar...but wait, there's more!
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