The Power of Connection
By Myrna Lapres
Have you ever disappointed someone you love dearly, someone who believed in you? That feeling can be crushing. The closer we feel to another person, the more devasted we are when we do something that they disapprove of. When relationships are damaged, it takes a lot of investment to repair them.
As parents, we need to realize that loving relationships give consequences their power. Consequences are opportunities for our children to learn from mistakes if we remember to keep our relationships intact by putting empathy first. For parents who get pulled into endless arguments, that becomes the focus of their relationships with their kids.
I think we can all agree that arguing with our children is not a good thing. Fighting, arguing, and lecturing causes us to move from the frontal cortex part of our brain where thinking, reasoning and impulse-control happen to the brain stem which is responsible for basic survival and the “fight-or-flight” response. When we or our children are in “fight-or-flight” mode, understanding, reasoning and connection get buried beneath angry words and feelings.
Empathy allows children to learn from their mistakes. Anger short circuits learning. Sarcasm backfires every time, sincere empathy works wonders. It allows the parent to remain the “good guy” and the poor choice to be the “bad guy.” Empathy prevents fight-or-flight & maintains lifelong loving relationships!
One tip that I love to teach parents to avoid arguing and keep the relationship connection comes from Love and Logic Parenting. It is a two-step process:
- Step One: Go “Brain Dead”
The less we say, the more effective we become. Lectures never worked for any parent in all of history.
- Step Two: Calmly repeat a one-liner
One-liners need to be spoken with genuine empathy, no sarcasm. They keep words from squirting out of our mouth. Using them helps us remain calm regardless of what our kids say. Kids argue with us to get attention, hoping that with enough arguing we will give in. By remaining calm, we starve them of argument fuel. One-liners can include: “I know,” “What a bummer,” “Probably so,” “Thanks for sharing,” “And what did I say?” and more.
Focusing on the connection creates a living thread between us and our children, and these threads weave a powerful bond that fills them with a genuine and lasting happiness. When we unconditionally care about our children’s happiness, they feel a powerful connection to us. They feel whole, safe and included in our lives.
Check out my new four-week parenting series “Mission Possible: Raising Resilient, Responsible, Respectful and Fun-To-Be-With Kids” to support you in creating stronger connection as you parent your children. coachmyrna-webinars