me and my grandmother

My grandmother has been in my mind and heart, especially since last week would have been her 90th birthday. My memories of my grandmother are not what you might think; fresh warm cookies and telling stories while sipping hot chocolate.  My grandmother (and I say this with total honor and respect) was a piece of work.  She had no problem speaking her mind and telling you what she thought of you, what you were wearing, what your kids were wearing, if you gained weight, etc.  In fact, one of the most common things my grandmother used to say to me was; “‘why don’t you wear just a drop of lipstick- it would brighten up your whole face!”.

Literally, she tried to get me to wear lipstick almost every time I saw her.  And the truth was, it wasn’t always easy for me to see her.  I wasn’t always in the mood to be criticized and told I needed to lose a couple of pounds.  Honestly, some of my visits were downright torture- until I made a change.

For years, I kept wanting her to change and be the unconditionally loving- feel good grandmothers that some of my friend’s had and so my visits were frustrating and disappointing.  Until I realized, when I was in my early twenties, that she was not going to change.  She was who she was and the only thing I could change was the way I responded to her. I decided not take her comments so personally and seriously, to trust that she loved me and expressed it in her own unique way and I was soon able to laugh at her insistence that I wear lipstick, move on with ease (versus hanging on to that criticism for the rest of my time with her) and then engage in other things, like playing scrabble or drinking ice coffee (her two favorite pastimes).

The pivotal point was when I stopped trying to change her and changed my experience of her instead.

This is a powerful tool you can use with your special child.  Many of the parents I work with are waiting to feel good about their child until their child changes in some way (starts talking, becomes toilet  trained or is succeeding in the classroom).

This article is an invitation to ‘choose’, yes I said choose, to feel good and enjoy your child the way he is right now and put an end to chasing the illusion that you will feel good once he reaches certain milestones (because as I have seen, there are always more milestones to reach and so you will always be putting off feeling good).  Here’s how:

4  steps to feeling good about your child right now:

1. Identify the stimulus.  The stimulus is the event or situation where you do not feel good about your child, like when he is having a tantrum or being totally exclusive and not interacting with you.

2. Recognize where you have power and where you don’t.  You cannot control what your child is capable of in this very moment ( you can invite and encourage your child to grow in a thousand ways- but at the end of the day it is up to him to decide whether he wants to change).  The only control you have is how you feel and respond to your child- this is where you power truly lies.

3. Pause.  Before you respond, give yourself a moment to switch gears and chose a different path of response.

4. Decide how you want to feel about your child in this very moment and create a belief to support that feeling.  This might take talking through it- but it goes something like this; “I cannot change the fact that my child is having a tantrum right now – only he has the power to control that.  My power lies in how I want to feel about him and I want to feel loving and peaceful because I know (here is the supportive belief) that he is doing the best he can with the tools he has”

This kind of switching gears becomes easier and easier as you practice it- and with practice can soon become your new habit.

Putting your energy into how you respond (versus trying to change  others before you decide to feel good ) is truly the only way to cultivate happiness for yourself on your journey with your child and put an end to chasing the illusion that ‘happiness’ will come when…..

Attitude is a huge part of the work I do with my 1:1 clients so you can dramatically increase the quality of your life and become more energized and more effective for your child. Want to learn more about how I can help you achieve this in your life?  Click here to set up a complimentary “Propel your Child Forward” strategy session.