Showing The Optimal Version Of Yourself As Relationship Tension Mounts
Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash
Relationship tension is common in urban living. Professional and personal relationships can get to you while you navigate the day to day in a fast-paced environment.
As you lead the little ones through the same hectic motions, you might, without realizing it, get fazed, snap at a cranky child, or otherwise miss a child’s requests.
That’s just motherhood, isn’t it? Being ON all the time? But being present for your child needn’t mean swallowing your feelings and putting away your own stressors for their benefit.
Get into the perspective of the child to be a parent who gives the right signals even in times of stress or ongoing tension.
- Children are not taught; they observe and absorb: You might want to give your child a number of tropes – morals, preaching, bordering on clichés. But your child takes lessons from your day-to-day behaviour. How you behave when you’re challenged, nonplussed, or overwhelmed is the bed on which the seed is sowed for the character they emulate without trying. You have silent spectators taking in cues at all times.
- Children can tell an act apart from genuine emotion: Nowhere is the adage “Honesty the best policy” more important than while dealing with children. Of course, any explanation that you offer has to be age-appropriate. But children can be quick to see through inconsistency or over-generalized productions in the garb of a moral story or even conversation within the family.
- Bodily cues: Children can pick up on the subtlest ways you show extremes of emotion. Wringing of hands, the way you knit your eyebrows, or simply an interval when you don’t meet their eyes with a frank gaze can tell your children that you’re fighting inner struggles. Encourage them to talk about what they saw and how they interpret it. Then, be sure to convey what you felt and how you’re dealing with your challenges.
- Bouts of crying: Face it: relationship tensions and stressful family situations abound in every household. The children are sure to catch you shedding a tear. Unless you’d rather not, let them come to you and hold hands or share a hug. They want to be sure of your affection and that you’re “okay’’. While you may not really be okay, you should show your child that it’s not their fault you’re down. Owning up to your emotions shows the child that you need not deny them even at their extremes. As you deal better with frustration, anger, or fear, children will have a better equation with their own uncomfortable emotions.
- Chunk time out for children exclusively: Despite the earning responsibilities, household chores, and a score of other time-consuming pursuits, you need to factor in quality time with children. This should be child-led ideally – an activity they like or simply time for you and the kids to hang out together. In these unstructured hours, you can gently ask the child to share something that they’ve been wondering about or want to discuss.
- Communicate, communicate: You needn’t go into the unsavoury details. Sharing in an age-appropriate fashion is possible even with young children. Meeting questions with honest, straight-forward answers shows them they need not be embarrassed about facing and handling conflict. It also helps them validate their feelings in tough situations. This is half the battle in helping them respond well as they grow as individuals.
- Practice confidence, not deceit: You needn’t wipe away tears or shut down the tough conversations. If a talk is particularly difficult to have, separate issues and discuss them without assigning blame.
The bottom-line is that you become an example when you become a parent. Face up to the hard and easy times with honesty and your children will learn to do the same.
Sargi is a full-time freelancer and mother. She cares for her plants, blogs, a thriving fount of writing inspiration, and bakes on occasion.
She prides herself on keeping it real despite how wildly variant her days are.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.