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Put a pin in your story...

I’m coming off our annual Cape Cod vacation, visiting with old friends and family and my adult(!) daughters. Vacations always feel like a reset button for our family, especially when they were little because the normal bickering and fighting dialed down significantly and I was way more patient and present than usual.

Vacations can serve as a hard reset for us as parents. We (hopefully) get a little peace and presence and the kids get parents who are a little more relaxed. And from there, everyone gets a little perspective to say, “Ah, this is nice isn’t it?”

The problem is, however, that typically after a vacation, everyone drops back into the routine, the hustle resumes, and so do the meltdowns, sibling rivalry, and yelling.

So much for that reset button, right?

And that’s why I’m in your inbox today.

Most parents are overwhelmed, tapped out, and really struggling, trying to get through the day between work, kids, home, and mom’s taxi.

So when kids are demanding attention through negative behavior, parents typically bring their own stress to the table. We’re exhausted and already doing everything for them all day between meals, cleaning, drop-offs and pickups, appointments, etc.

So we yell. “What’s wrong with you!? Just do your homework, I’m tired and have to get dinner on the table.”

There is a moment here I need to address - we’re talking about a kid who’s struggling to get their homework done for some reason. And now not only are they struggling, but in this moment, their parent and #1 ally has taken over the story: it's no longer about a child having difficulty with their homework, it's become a story about a frustrated parent who wants to get dinner on the table. There's an opportunity here... A MicroStep Moment - if you will - in these typical parenting struggles that we get to capture… where you can put a pin in your story (getting dinner on the table, your exhaustion, and frustration) and instead jump into your child's story.

“It’s probably hard to stay focused. It’s been a long day. What do you think would make getting your work done feel more manageable?”

The goal here isn’t to let your kid blow off her homework. It’s validating how she might be feeling, and working with her to problem solve.

Now instead of going to battle over homework, leaving her feeling totally misunderstood, she’s feeling seen and heard and will be more open to finding a solution to the problem.

Here’s the funny thing - this approach will take the same if not less time than had you gone to battle with her about her homework.

Taking 3-5 minutes in the moment to validate and problem-solve is so much easier than an evening of nagging and threatening until the job gets done (or worse, she doesn’t do it and it impacts her grades).

This is just one of many examples I cover in my upcoming book, The MicroStep Method For The Overwhelmed Parent. This book is NOT about getting it right all the time, it’s about capturing the small moments to respond in a different way, leading to a BIG impact in your child growing into a successful, emotionally intelligent adult.

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