All Posts by Jackie Hall - Admin

Are you okay? I wasn’t. I was struggling!

By now, many people know about my meltdown. I was completely immersed in the cycle of anger, yelling, crying (me and the kids) and feeling like the worst parent in the world, which ultimately led me to my breakdown in order to get my break through.

It was ‘the knife incident’. The day I got so angry I slammed a knife on the bench so hard that it almost hit my (then) two year old. Then I proceeded to run to my room screaming how much I hated my life, all with my (then) 6 month old on my hip.

Was I okay?

No I wasn’t. But would anyone else but my husband, have known that? Absolutely not!

Why?

Because I was meant to be that perfect mum. I was meant to love being at home with my children, wasn’t I? I was meant to be the achiever who got life right. I was great at so many things before kids. Why was I struggling with this? As a woman, this was meant to be my forte. Didn’t having children mean that I automatically knew what I was doing and that it would come naturally?

What sort of mother throws knives at her child? What sort of mother gets this angry at her children, screams at them and completely loses it, scaring them and making them cry? The one person who is ‘supposed’ to be the one who makes her child feel safe and loved and nurtured. What sort of parent does that?

You are definitely NOT alone

Well, as it turns out, there are quite a few of us, as we continue to discover every couple of months when hundreds of parents join our online 28 Day Tame your Temper Parenting Challenge, which was born out of my own struggles with anger.

But sadly, as hard as we are trying to let people know about our programs, just like I was, too many parents are still sitting behind closed doors, hating themselves, trying to change and feeling like a failure because they can’t.

I have written this blog to let you know that I was at that point where I wasn’t okay. I wasn’t coping with being a mum and I was stuck in the mindset that it was just too confronting to let anyone else know this was how I was feeling. I honestly believed that I must have been the only parent out there who felt this way on a daily basis.

But the statistics are stating otherwise. Currently 14% of parents experience postnatal depression. Countless more deal with parental stress to varying degrees. We are on the front line of speaking to those very parents who are coming out in our groups to speak about the realities of parenting.

I cannot stress to you enough, how important it is to find your safe place to talk about what’s going on for you and to share with people who you can trust, what you are feeling (and sometimes that might be among strangers who are going through what you are).

We know from speaking with hundreds of parents every day, that what you are feeling and thinking is going through the minds of parents everywhere. You are nowhere near as alone as you think you are and you don’t need to travel this road alone either.

The lonely road of stress behind closed doors

How far down this road are you already?

Firstly, you experience the various challenges of being a parent and start thinking about how annoying, frustrating, or difficult this moment is. You start to think that because the moment is not the way you expected it to be, it’s stopping you from being able to do something else (achieve something, get things right, enjoy parenting, stopping you from having a bond with your child).

You start to look for why you are finding this so hard and you start to blame. You blame yourself for not doing something right. You blame your kids because they ‘should know better’, or your partner for not supporting you enough. Once the mind is on this bandwagon, you start to look for what it all means about you. I’m a bad parent. I’m hopeless. I’m never going to get this right. This is ruining my life. What’s wrong with me?!

But it doesn’t just stop there. The brain is geared to look for evidence of where you have your attention, so now you start looking for evidence outside of this moment to support the belief that things are going wrong.

You start to compare how others seem to be getting it right or doing it better than you. Then you start to think about other areas of your life with this same viewpoint. You look for evidence to support the belief that ‘life is going wrong’ and how it’s stopping you from feeling happy about your life.

You begin to see this viewpoint in other parts of the day with your kids, your work, your relationship, your friendships, your finances. With the evidence mounting you begin to draw conclusions about your life and settle on one major assumption that explains it all – EVERYTHING is GOING WRONG. I am such a failure!

Your brain is now starting to get used to this concept and you are now finding evidence everywhere, all the while making you feel worse and worse. Your self-perception continues to head south and life becomes more and more painful.

Now it’s time to react to your perception of life and how you feel about it. You get angry when you can’t control it. You cry because you feel so helpless, useless and can’t see a way out of it, and your enthusiasm to keep trying to change, is starting to diminish. “Why bother. Every time I try, I just keep getting it wrong.”

Because you believe it’s only you who has these disgraceful, embarrassing and unforgivable flaws, you try to hide how you’re feeling. “What would they think of me if they found out how bad I really am?” So you keep it quiet. Only the thinking/feeling loop and the evidence finding missions continue, and you sink lower and lower and lower.

But what you don’t know, is that you are certainly NOT the only person out there feeling challenged by parenting. You are not the only one who experiences stress, anger, sadness and loneliness, and those safe places to share your thoughts and feelings without judgement do exists.

But knowing this is only the beginning. There’s more work that needs to be done to alleviate this level of stress altogether.

Making the important Shift towards Freedom from Parental Stress

It’s great to find like-minded parents – friends who keep it real and tell you honestly what’s going on for them, but here’s another problem I see parents running into. We do what I call ‘rolling in the mud’ and you don’t get clean from rolling in the mud.

Now that we’ve found that safe place to vent, what now? Has it changed how you feel? No. What often happens next, is we become friends with our stress. We subscribe to it being a natural part of our existence that we just have to put up with.

We find security in the knowing that we are not alone. We continue to find evidence of our ‘sucky’ day so we can tell our friends, our partners, our loved ones, and we can feel momentarily better because we are sharing our experiences with someone who understands and it temporarily lifts us from its emotional grasp.

But behind closed doors, you’re still thinking with the same mindset! The same feelings are still bubbling within, bringing us down and making us miserable, regardless of finding our new allies. It’s still effecting your relationship with your kids, your partner, yourself and how you feel about your life.

The only thing that’s changed, is that now you don’t feel so alone.

There’s another step you need to take – Changing your mindset.

We need to find a balance of finding a group of parents who do keep it real, but who are also working towards changing that mindset and working on themselves to create a different way of thinking and feeling about parenthood and building connections with their children.

After that defining moment of my meltdown, it occurred to me that no one else was going to change how I felt about my life. No one else was going to suddenly wave their magic wand and miraculously change my day to day responsibilities. I knew that it wasn’t the kids, or life that was causing my stress, it was how I was perceiving that life.

As parents, we are often making our children a priority. We put them before ourselves in a pursuit to be ‘a good parent’. But what parents don’t often realise, is that the more you make yourself a priority, particularly in terms of your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, the closer you actually get to that ‘good parent’ goal you are seeking to obtain.

We need to make a shift in the parenting community because right now we are seeing quite a significant shift between parental stress being ‘taboo’ to parental stress being celebrated, accepted and embraced, like a badge of honour we wear having to experience the woes of parenting. We are starting to adopt perceptions of parenthood where we expect that it will be hard. We expect that we will feel stressed and the only way to deal with that stress is to laugh about it or complain about it with those who ‘know what it’s like’.

But remember, the brain looks for evidence of what you have your attention on. If you continue to see parenting in this way, you will continue to experience parenting this way.

What if you can change how you feel about the challenges of parenting?

But what if you could train yourself to become like that ‘born to be parent’ you see at school or at daycare. You know the one that does it all with ease and genuinely loves it. That could be you. That parent is not better or worse than you. She just thinks differently. She perceives what she’s doing with a different mindset.

What if we go beyond the struggle, beyond the stress and beyond sharing our parenting woes, and what if we turned that struggle into CHANGE?

What if you could learn a way of dealing with life’s challenges with a mindset that could draw the value and the learning from these experiences instead of seeing them as wrong. What if you could teach yourself to be present, stop personalising your unwanted events, find your sense of self-worth, learn to be solution focussed and NOT get bogged down with life?

What sort of flow on effect do you think this would have on your relationships with your children and the type of adults they turn into. Do you think that would be moving towards your ideal of a good parent or away from it? It doesn’t seem like such a selfish endeavour to prioritise yourself now does it?

The pathway to change

We started this story with struggles, painful emotions, being bogged down with the challenges of parenting and connecting you to the emotions we all feel to varying levels, behind closed doors. We started with a mindset that argued with our reality and blamed events, ourselves and others for our ‘wrong life’.

We then elevated those emotions with a sense of connection, togetherness and being part of a sameness, rather than isolation. We showed you how to make friends with your stress, laugh at it even and accept it as part of you life.

But what if we took another step? What if we used this connection with other parents, banded together and helped each other to learn and continue to CHANGE the way we perceive life as a parent, and thus how we feel about it.

THIS is the mission of the Parental Stress Centre of Australia. This is why we exist. When you join our programs you become part of a group of parents on this exact mission too.

No longer are parents happy to just feel like ‘every other parent’ and make friends with their stress. they are committed to eliminating it and they are all working together (even after the programs are finished, via our past participants group), to help each other to keep it real, but elevate their emotions to align with a new way of thinking. They want what the ‘born mother’ has and they have realised that it all starts with changing their mindset, not rolling in the mud.

Are you ready to challenge your mindset and lift your parenting approach to a whole new experience?

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

Kids Are An Interruption To My Life. Ouch!

One day, my children were mucking around. My husband was working away at the time and I was trying to get them into bed.

They were laughing and giggling and jumping about. At first I was playing along, but then I wanted them to settle down. I had a lot of work to do when they went to sleep and my focus was on doing that. I’d had enough of the play. It was time to sleep and I was attached to the picture of them calming down.

However, they weren’t playing the game and kept mucking around (as children do). My blood started boiling as the conversation in my head started to roll around in “they’re not listening to me”…I just want them to stop….”They need to go to bed NOW”….blah, blah, blah.

It escalated until I came to breaking point and shouted at them in my clenched-teeth way when I lose control. They instantly quietened down and went to bed, but I felt awful! That’s not the way to end the day. However I’d done it and I couldn’t take it back.

Knowing what I know in regards to the teachings of The Parental Stress Centre, I knew I needed to find the core belief that drove my anger to begin with. What was really going on to make me react this way? Was there any pattern to my thinking that causes me to react like this in other times?

I got to journaling, like I get my course participants to do when we’re trying to establish the beliefs behind our emotions, and after a while of looking at my ‘story’ behind my anger, it hit me. My core belief was:

“My children are an interruption to my life!”

WTF, are you serious? I couldn’t believe this is what I had thought. How terrible that was to think that way. But there it was right there on the page, and I knew that’s what I believed, because I felt it to the point of tears stinging the back of my eyes.

Oh dear, that was one belief I definitely needed to upgrade. I didn’t want my kids to feel like they were interrupting my life.

So here’s the upgrade:

Nothing can interrupt your life. Every experience IS your life. It’s just one event giving way to the next. There is no event that is more important than another. Everything is valuable. My children were in the moment, something I need to do more of. Parenting is a part of my life experience, too and I need to embrace every moment with my kids because, just like every other moment in life, it will rise and pass away. They will grow up, leave the nest and I will move onto other activities. My children are not an interruption to my life. They ARE my life, and a big part of it. Enjoy the moments while they’re here.

Change what you think about and what you think about changes…

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

The story behind that angry mother you just judged

We’ve all encountered it. You watched her actions and listened to her cruel words and harsh behaviour towards her child. You felt her intense energy as she expressed herself and worst of all, you saw the effect it was having on her child – the sadness, the fear, and you worried she was stripping away more and more self-worth from that child with every angry word she spat.

 
A part of you may have identified with her anger for a brief second, but you quickly justified it by saying “I’m nowhere near THAT bad” even though silently you knew you were guilty of that level of anger at times (or had the potential to be that angry).

You watched all this and you judged. You looked at this woman and this one event, which is all you know of this stranger, and in an instant you rated her as a ‘bad mother’ or at best ‘a mother that was damaging her child’.

“How could she do that to her child?!” You asked yourself (or maybe commented to a friend).

But let’s step out of the world of judgement and self-righteousness for a moment and think about what’s happening for this woman.

What do think is going on behind that behaviour? How do you think this woman feels about herself or her life to be behaving this way?

What might have happened in this woman’s life to lead her to such intense pain, hurt and aggression about this current moment?

Think about your own actions for a minute. You know, those ones you wish you could take back? What was going on for you to behave the way you did?  Why didn’t you do the ‘right thing’ even though you knew you should?

How did you feel about yourself when you made a mistake or acted inappropriately?

This woman is no different to you or me.  Her actions do not define her as a person, they simply define how she feeling about her life in that moment.

Anger is never about the events, it is about how we perceive events and what we perceive them to mean about our self-worth or our quality of life.

This woman has a story and that story has resulted in her thinking and feeling a certain way about life that has caused her to behave in the way that you are seeing right now.

And if the truth be told (and I hear it over and over again in my line of work) there are many parents who feel exactly like this mother, but just keep it behind closed doors, appearing to be the pinnacle of perfection in public, but when no one’s looking, it all falls apart.  I myself, was guilty of that too.

However, perhaps this mother was never taught how to be a calm, happy, easy going parent.

Perhaps this mother is going through some big challenges that she just doesn’t know how to handle and it’s all getting on top of her.

Perhaps this mother doesn’t feel good enough, confident enough, feels out of control, doesn’t know how to parent the way she wants to, feels anxious about raising her child, is struggling to cope or has just plain had enough and can’t see any end in sight to the demands of being a parent.

There’s not a parent on this planet that cannot relate to any one of those feelings that I just mentioned above.

So if we all understand this story, why do we judge her so quickly and offer our disapproving looks to this woman who is clearly in pain?

There’s no doubt that a parent with anger issues is causing some sort of effect to her child and their beliefs about themselves and life, and if she is hurting her child, then we absolutely must do something to help the child be removed from that situation.

But wouldn’t an extended course of action be to help that child in the long term  by helping his mother?

But we live in a society that tends to want to ostracise, judge and criticise those who don’t fit the mould.  We exploit their behaviour, talk about it, spread gossip and create headlines about it (“you won’t believe what I saw this woman do today”), we post it on Facebook and we want nothing to do with them.

But what if our judgements and distasteful looks are just perpetuating the very beliefs this woman has about herself and her life and is actually fuelling the very behaviour you would like to see her change?

What if our reactions are just feeding her already incorrect beliefs about herself and how useless and out of control she feels, how she believes she is the shittiest mother in the world and to some extremes, even feels like her kids would be better off if she just left this world altogether?

What if this woman needs our love and support, not our scorn?

If we, as a society of parents ourselves, could truly see the pain and lack of knowledge going on behind that mum’s behaviour, would you want to hurt her further, or would you want to help her?

Instead of judging her, why don’t we help her, show her some kindness, be the breath of fresh air that shows her that she is important and she is worthy of being cared about?

Help her to feel good about herself, give her a break from the kids if you know her, give her a smile if you don’t.  Visualise yourself giving this woman a comforting hug and send some loving, calming energy and empathy her way, because you can relate to the frustrations of motherhood.

Imagine the effect it would have on stressed out mothers everywhere if we all adopted a community approach to loving, supporting and understanding each other as parents. Imagine the effect of a parenting community who helped each other through their challenges, whether that parent was our friend or not.

The bottom line to anger, is that if you see it in someone, or you are feeling high levels of it yourself (and everyone will have their own standards of what that is), this is not an indication that you are worth-less. This is an indication that the way you are perceiving life needs to change, and that you just need to learn the tools on how to do that.

No one ever wants to feel angry, nor do they want to take that anger out on anyone else, particularly those they love.

The problem is not the parent themselves. It is the lack of information on how to handle life any other way.  Often anger has just become a habit, a deep hole where logically they know they need to get out of, but they JUST…DON’T…KNOW…HOW.

The answer to anger management in parenthood is not ridicule and judgement, it’s education and support – information that helps parents understand the specific thinking that causes anger in the first place and a set of tools to help parents to change that thinking in the heat of the moment so that anger doesn’t even become the habitual reaction.

When angry as parents we are told to ‘walk away’ or ‘take time out’ but that’s just not enough!  That only serves to help us until the next situation triggers the same thoughts that causes the same reaction.

That’s exactly why we created The 28 Day Tame your Temper parenting Challenge.

As seen on Channel 7’s Sunrise, over 4,500 people have participated in this life changing online course that is transforming the way parents react to the challenges of parenting by learning how to identify and change the thinking that causes anger (see video below).

When parents display anger, this is not cause to judge and inflict further reasons for that parent to feel bad, it’s a responsibility to educate, help and support that parent.

By reading this article, it is my hope that next time you encounter a mother who is feeling overly frustrated and angry with her children, that you think about the human behind the behaviour and start to think about ways you can lift that parent up in some way….any way, that might be small, but may just make a massive difference to her life in ways that you may never realise.

It is my hope that you can see a little bit of yourself in her and can extend some compassion towards her instead of judgement.

We can all make a difference and it can all start with how you respond to situations just like this.

 

Trying to be perfect ? Let it go.

Stop trying to perfect your child, but keep trying to perfect your relationship with him.
 

Dr. Henker
You will never be a perfect parent with a perfect child. The reality is that BOTH of your will experience highs and lows and with them will always comes lessons for life.

What’s most important in life is our relationships. So today make sure you…

  • Play with your child
  • Give your child a hug
  • Think about what’s really important
  • Take some time to listen and talk to them
  • LAUGH

Memories and LOVE is what’s really important.

Wishing you a gorgeous day.

Jackie

How to get my two year old to sit still

Parent: How can I get a 2 yr old to sit and eat his dinner

Jackie Hall: This is a tough one because the reality is that you may not be able to.

At this age, she doesn’t understand enough to know why she needs to sit still and you may be at the mercy of repeating the instruction over and over until she gets it.

If she is continually getting up from the table, keep bringing her back and reinforcing the rule that you have to sit at the table. Model the behaviour and show her that the rest of the family is doing it too. Try to find a reason why your 2 year old would WANT to stay up at the table, perhaps by making it fun or funny to be at the table.

I know it’s difficult, but she is at a learning stage and sometimes we have to battle with our adult minds which thinks our children should know what to do and how to do, because that’s what we would do.

But we’ve had years of practicing these skills. They are still learning how to DO life.

Just keep repeating to yourself, “This too, shall pass.”

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

How can I stay calm when I’ve told them a million times!!

Parent: How do I remain calm when I’ve given the kids a direction/instruction and they don’t take it in and do it and you end up repeating it….Getting frustrated!!!

Jackie Hall: Anger comes from how we perceive the event, not the event itself.

It is when we are thinking that something should be different, but the reality is, it is not. All stress is a conflict between belief (what I’m thinking) and reality (what is actually happening). It can also be a form of control – a way to get someone to do what you want them to do.

The first thing to do is bring your attention back from your thinking of how it should be different and accept that what is happening IS happening. When you accept the current moment, just as it is, you’re going to free your attention up for finding solutions.

Secondly, the reality is that kids often don’t always follow directions straight away. This is often not due to disrespect, but due to the fact that, in that moment, they have another priority.

Try to figure out what that priority is and why it’s important to them and then try to think of a way to shift their priority so that they WANT to listen and follow the instruction.

What leverage can you use to entice them to CHOOSE TO follow your direction? You can either use punishment or reward, or simply shift their attention to what’s in it for them, depending on which way you want to go, but it doesn’t have to be a fight. They just need to know what the conditions are of their choices and then they get to make their own decisions (which hopefully align with the one you want them to make, lol).

Five year old doesn’t like homework….

Parent: “How do I get my five year old (prep) to practice her writing with me each night when she fights with me and disputes what I say?”

Jackie Hall: A great way to get kids to do anything is to make it fun.

The question, “What’s in it for me?” is always the determining factor that makes anybody WANT to do anything.

Find out what she thinks about homework and why she doesn’t want to do it so you can gain some insight into what’s happening for her and what you might be able to do to turn it around.

Also, do some self-checking as to whether you are being patient with where she is at in her learning. Sometimes we can expect them to understand it at the level that we do but we have to remember that we’ve had lots of practice.

I know it can be a laborious task to teach (goodness knows I’d never have the patience to be a teacher), however if you can find a way to make it more interesting or fun for her, then she is more likely to comply.

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

I don’t want my child to remember me as a screamer

Parent: I have a lot of time alone with my 3 y/o son. I find I’m losing my temper faster when there’s no one else around. I try to be scream free and quickly forget. I don’t want him to remember me as a screaming mum. Can you help me?

Jackie Hall: Anger and anxiety are often very closely linked. Anxiety is all about control. We are trying to control life so it goes to my plan and prevent anything from jeopardising our goals.

ALL stress is a conflict between belief (what I’m thinking) and reality (what is actually happening) and what we perceive that event to mean about ourselves. In order to stop the anger we need to align with the reality of that moment and look at it from a reality based perspective.

With any aged child we need to expect as parents that life isn’t always going to go to plan. Our children are learning how to behave and especially at the age of three, they are not going to comply with what we are saying or doing at all times. They are busy integrating loads of information about life and forming physical neural connections in the brain that are helping them make sense in the world and sometimes they’re busy just trying to figure out what things are, let alone trying to align them with you wants and needs.

Check out this website www.raisingchildren.net.au to see what is happening in your child’s brain development and some strategies to handle the reality of this stage.

Parents! It’s time for a shake up.

Bad mother.  Terrible dad.  I’m failing my children.  I’m hopeless.  I’m not good enough.  I’m ruining my child’s life.  I can’t….

ENOUGH! IT’S TIME TO CHANGE OUR APPROACH AS PARENTS!

What are we teaching our children about self-esteem if every time we get something wrong or make a mistake we brand ourselves with insults, judgements, labels and criticism?

We teach them to do the same.

What we need to do as key role models to our children is to stop wasting time personalising our shortcomings and instead, focus on identifying the lack of knowledge that caused the decisions, past actions or situation to occur in the first place and learn from it for next time.

The reality is that we are not good at everything.  Reality is that we WILL come across challenges in our lives as parents (and in general). 

It’s time for us parents to align with this reality and become solution focussed about what we don’t know and learn it so that we can teach our children to do the same when faced with their challenges.

It’s time for us parents to change our approach to life’s challenges and train our consciousness into the habit of accepting our imperfections, seeing the value and the lessons in our struggles and seeing our own true, innate worth to the world.

It’s time for us to lighten up, have some fun, stop taking life so seriously all the time, value the small things, be appreciative, stop being so regimented about life and start enjoying ourselves some more.

If you don’t know how to do this then that’s okay, this is not a judgement on you. It’s just an indication that you haven’t received the information on how yet.  Don’t worry, you are not alone.  We’ve all got something to learn.

But don’t you think it’s time to change that?  Don’t you think it’s time to work on yourself to BE the change you wish to see in your child?

We live in an era where we can learn anything if we make it a priority. We can teach ourselves. We can work on what we need to do to make changes in our lives and we can get the support, encouragement and knowledge we need to make it happen, right at your fingertips.

All you need to do is decide it is a priority.

Learning life skills and the ability to handle life challenges and seek out happiness for your life needs to become a priority for us parents to be able to teach these skills to our children.

When you see your life as going wrong when it doesn’t go to plan, or focus on what you’re missing out on, get stuck in the behaviours and the decisions of yourself or others from the past, or continue to roll around in a story about how bad you or life is, that habit of thinking, unfortunately gets passed down to your children.

The result? A continuation of an unhappy you and the creation of an unhappy child.

Both of you deserve more.  Make it a point to seek out the knowledge you need to start teaching yourself the life skills you need to enjoy it, embrace the challenges and feel confident in who you are, flaws and all.

The mission of the Parental Stress Centre is to teach parents how to do all this and more.  Let’s change our child’s generation by first changing ourselves and OUR approach to life so we can pass this knowledge down to our kids.

Nothing changes unless something changes. We want world peace (or at least our child to experience peace)? Well it all starts with you.

Something has to change.

The results will not only be a happier you, but will lead to a happier child and a happier society. You are THAT important.

So what is it that you need to work on to make your life better?  Head on over to our products page to learn how to gain the knowledge you need to BE the change you wish to see in your child.