THE RESET BUTTON
Why do we need it?
If you feel like you have been having a bad morning or day or week or entire quarantine period with your kids, do not beat yourself up. Thanks to the plasticity of the brain, it will always respond to positive nurturing. If you want another chance to be the parent you imagined, or you would like to handle things differently than you have been, I have great news. You can. It is never too
late to push restart.
Though you might blame ‘having a bad day’ on yelling about dishes (again) or shushing their questions because you were working, you are more likely feeling the pain of the disconnection caused by those actions. The good news is that the attachment literature shows that we can absolutely make repairs with our children. Assuming you have been grumpy or irritable or absent, your child may be feeling unloved, resentful, sad, or even worried.
What is it?
A chance to start over, to reset. As soon as you start providing experiences that make them feel ‘seen’ (safe and understood) and ‘soothed’ (calmed down from their own emotions), their brains will change and reconnect with yours. Simply talk to your children, and take a few minutes to focus on them.
Your Script in Action
Parent: “I don’t like the way things have been going lately: I’ve been grumpy and frustrated and feeling overwhelmed...can we start over?”
Be ready with a few minutes to connect.
Grab a favorite book and ask your child (who’s too young or just starting to read) to tell you the story. No interrupting or correcting.
Get down to their level, sit next to them, and ask about what they are doing (video game, Lego, the doll, a book, homework). Listen, with curiosity.
Play a round of Hangman (a family favorite whenever in a restaurant).
With an older child, you might have to schedule a time for something together. How about if we go get a foo-foo drink this afternoon (foo-foo drinks in my family are overpriced delicious drinks from coffee houses).
It is never too late to start again. Model self-forgiveness and patience - just like you would give to your children. And, presumably it goes without saying, no phones allowed during connection time!
GOT A MINUTE?
If you feel like you and a child could use a reset, just try it with one of them and see how it goes. Notice how it makes you feel and notice if the child's mood shifts...with older kids, the shift sometimes take a bit of time.