Tag Archives for " anger "

10 Ways Your Thoughts Trigger Parental Anger

"It is never the events that cause stress, it's how we perceive those events and what we perceive them to mean about ourselves."

​Jackie Hall - Qualified Counsellor & Founder of The Parental Stress Centre

Often we blame the things going on around us for feeling stressed or angry - it's the child's behaviour, it's my partner, it's lack of sleep, it's having no money. The list can be endless.

However, does everyone have the same reaction when facing these events?
Do you even have the same reactions EVERY SINGLE TIME you are faced with an event?

The answer is no. This is because your 'story' about the event changes when you are perceiving it in that moment, depending on what else is happening, or has been happening around you.

Mindset when it comes to anything, is hugely powerful and to be that calm parent you're wanting to be, you often have to learn how to master your mindset so you can get out of the story that's causing you to feel stressed.

Here are 10 ways your thinking can cause you Parental Anger:

#1 - You are focussed on the picture of how thing are ‘supposed to be' rather than how they are

This is number one because it's the most common. The brain thinks in pictures. We created a picture of how something would pan out, and what's happening is very different to your expectations, however you are still focussed on the old picture. You need to upgrade your picture with what is ACTUALLY happening so you can free your attention particles up to do something about it.

#2 - You have attached your self-worth to getting parenting ‘right’

With the picture of the 'right' way things were supposed to go, is also often a 'right' way that brain has determined that YOU need to be in order to feel loved, valued, respected, to belong and to feel good, or good enough. When life is going to plan, you feel good about yourself, but when it's not, you feel worth.....less (how worth-less will depend on the how strongly you've attached your self-worth to outcome).

The belief is that if "I can't be [insert perfectionist/achiever/responsible one/people pleaser/peace maker] then I'm not good enough." This causes anger because of the hidden hurt. Anger is a way of trying to control events so you can achieve your goal or because you feel out of control because you haven't achieved your goal.

#3 - You’re catastrophizing by talking in absolutes using words like NEVER, ALWAYS, NOTHING

"I have NOTHING to wear!"
"You kids are ALWAYS behaving this way. You NEVER listen to me."
"You NEVER help me around the house. You're ALWAYS making other things a priority" (Might be something you say to your partner).

Catastrophising or speaking in absolutes sends the brain on an evidence finding mission and will draw up all of the times you have no clothes, not been listened to, when the kids have been playing up, how your partner never helps you. It narrows its focus ONLY to those reference points in your brain and won't ever look for the time when you have had new clothes, you have been listened to, the kids did behave, or when your partner did help.

This narrow view seemingly justifies your anger because you think you are right. Based on the evidence you are drawing upon, you might be. But this isn't ALL that's going on. Plus if you only focus on what you don't want, how do you focus on what you do want and start moving in that direction?

#4 – You’re focused on the past

As you'll see, a lot of these points all start to blend in together. Your brain is constantly bringing information from your reference points to the conscious mind so you can assess how to respond to current events.

If you have trained yourself to look for what goes wrong, how much you're missing out, how behaviour has occurred in the past or how people have acted, you don't give change a chance. You are living in the past, not in the present.

With this focus, you can become angry at life before anything has even happened! You already expect that it's going to go the way it did in the past and you have your reaction all ready to go.

#5 – You’re worried about a potential future

This is a biggie with anger. You are using the information from the past to predict a future outcome and you worry about how it will all play out. You're not living in the now, you're living partway in the past and into a potential future.

You'll say things like, 'What if...." and "I just know 'x' will happen'". "I don't know how I'm going to handle it when 'x' happens" and you tie up your attention, focussing on something that hasn't even happened.

#6 – You’re personalising your child’s behaviour

Guess what? Your child's behaviour is not about you! It's about where they are at in their brain development and how they are perceiving life in that moment, just like where your actions and emotions come from.

But as parents, we get fixated on outcome and think we are responsible for every little decision and action our child does and think that it is due to our failings when they respond a certain way. We think we've failed, we're hopeless, everyone else is doing it better. We feel unloved, like no one respects us or that there is something wrong with us because our child is acting this way.

But your child's reaction comes from their mindset! They need help with their thinking, just like you do. Sure they may have learnt some mindset strategies from you that may need to change, but that doesn't mean you have failed. How great that you've become aware of it. Now you can do something about it!

When you can jump out of the world of you and into the world of them and how you can help them to learn, grow and navigate their way in the world, then you free your attention particles up to be solution focussed about how you can teach them, rather than rolling around in a crappy story about how you have failed, which doesn't help anyone (and it reinforces the very beliefs you want to change in yourself and your child).

#7 – Your expectations are unrealistic

Clean house, perfect children, excellent finances, do things for others, do things for me, have it balanced at ALL times. There's no room for flexibility here! Life doesn't always go to plan. But your mind thinks it should and you get all caught up in stress when life doesn't go the way you want it to.

The belief here is "I think I 'should' be able to do more, be more, have more, learn more, apply more and then I'll get life right!"

It's okay to have goals, but you have to be flexible because life doesn't always go to plan and life isn't always balanced. Sometimes you have to find a different way to get to your goals, learn some new ways on how to get to your goal and revise your plans.

#8 – You’re in conflict with reality

This is one of my own personal catchphrases when I'm rolling around in my 'pit of shit', thinking things should be different to how they are.
Stress is caused because your thinking is in conflict with the reality of what is.

It can be in conflict with the reality of the situation (Reality is your child is having a tantrum right now).
It can be in conflict with the reality of parenting (Reality is children of 4 and under don't have logic and reasoning skills so their behaviour will often NOT be rational).
It can be in conflict with the reality of life. (Reality is life doesn't always go to plan. It's full of ups and downs.)
It can be in conflict with the reality of self-worth (Reality is that worth is not defined by outcome, or we'd all be worth-less because life doesn't always go to plan.)

#9 – You’re still making decisions and acting through your child self

Because the brain thinks from the references of the past, and your brain was largely set up between the ages of 0 to 7, often you are still making decisions based on experiences that occurred in your childhood.

For example:
"In order to get love, I need to do everything for everyone."
"You can't ask for help or you're lazy."
"I have to achieve to avoid getting in trouble" or the flipside, "I have to achieve to get love."
"In order to feel good enough, I need people to like me" so I fear judgement.

There are so many examples of how our decisions from childhood are still motivating our actions today and causing us stress as logically we know, we cannot possibly live up to these expectations, and we don't want to either. But unconsciously, the brain still thinks it needs to protect you from pain or pursue pleasure by living these same habits.

#10 – You’re stuck in blame mode – they should have behaved differently!!

We have an expectation that other people's priorities should be the same as yours. But are your priorities always the same as other people's? Is it okay for others to make different choices?

When you get stuck in blame mode, again your focus is on the past - the picture you had of the way things were 'supposed to go'. You're not looking for ways to negotiate with the other person, align with them, create ways of co-operating with each other, or finding their entry point at which those negotiations can be made.

Instead, you're stuck in a story that's in conflict with reality. Reality is, they did what they did, so where to from here? How can you either help your children with their mindset so that they change their priorities, teach them some consequences about life because they made that decision or work with them on a solution. How can you communicate, negotiate and compromise now that the behaviour did occur? This can also apply to your relationships too.

You see, your mind is key to changing how you feel about your life. You can set about changing the circumstances of your life, yelling at the kids to obey and comply, get annoyed to justify your position and stay in your own 'pit of shit', or you can work on your mindset so you can free it up to become solution focussed about your present reality.

So how many of these have you found applies to you, that you need to work on?

Need help to CHANGE these thoughts and tame your temper?
Click below to learn more about our 28 Day Tame Your Temper Challenge..

Child behaviour solutions don’t work, so I get angry

Why is it that you try so hard to find solutions to your child’s behaviour so that you can be calm, only to find that the solutions don’t work, and you end up being angry again?

Here’s my answer:

Most of the time, the problem isn’t the solutions causing you the anger, but the self-worth attachment you have to NEEDING the solutions to work.

We live in an instant gratification world where everything is at our fingertips and so often I see parents get attached to the outcome of implementing solutions – expecting immediate results. There’s no flexibility in between the now and the outcome.

When you decide on what solution to try, you get attached to the result you want. You NEED it to reach that outcome for some reason and you make it mean something about you when you can’t.

For example: When we get upset over child behaviour, it’s always because we have personalised it somehow. When you implement a strategy and it doesn’t work, what is the conversation you’re having with yourself?

I’m a shit mother/father? Why can’t I control my child? Everybody is looking at me thinking I’ve got no idea what I’m doing? They don’t love me, respect me, or appreciate me?

In the above, we’ve made their behaviour all about ourselves. That’s what causes the upset.

But when you jump out of the world of you and into the world of your child, here’s what you most likely find:

a) They are still at a developmental stage where logic and reasoning are not active parts of the brain (children under 4); they are learning how to communicate their wants and needs and starting to play around with ways of doing this, including copying other behaviours they see – yours, friends, relatives, siblings etc (school age children); their brain is doing a major rewire where they are not using logic and reasoning a lot of the time to make decisions and there is a lot of hormonal confusion going on, plus they are trying to gain independence and control over their lives in preparation for adulthood (teenagers).

b) Their behaviour is coming from their own interpretations of their life; how they fit in, whether they feel loved, whether they feel accepted, approved of, or over controlled etc.

c) Because they get something out of the behaviour. It either helps them to defend themselves or it gets them what they want.

In all three cases above, the reason behind your child’s behaviour wasn’t even about you. It was about them and how they were perceiving life.

Before you even look at their behaviour, you have to first understand why it’s there in the first place, by understanding where they are at in their brain development, how they’re perceiving the family dynamics (and social dynamics with older children) and what their payoff is. Everyone makes decisions to move towards a better feeling place (pursue pleasure and avoid pain).

So when you look to solutions for an immediate fix before you can get to your better feeling place, it’s bound to cause upset. You’re in conflict with the reality of learning and development of children (and humans for that matter).

It took some time to set up the behaviour, so it can take some time to deconstruct that behaviour and build new habits, and rules of engagement, or it can take time simply for an entirely new phase in development to take effect.

The reality is that some solutions aren’t an immediate fix, especially when it involves the behaviour of someone else and family dynamics.

If you personalise the solutions you are trying out on your kids it suggests to me that you likely hold the belief that you ‘should’ know how to fix/stop/improve behaviour or perhaps you believe you are the one responsible for the outcome of your child’s behaviour (which you can’t be. You can be responsible for what you teach your children about life and a standard you will/won’t accept for their behaviour, but you can’t ever be responsible for another person’s behaviour and choices. That’s their choice based on the circumstances, their brain development and priorities they hold in that moment).

The reality to adopt in your mindset is one of flexibility in some instances. Recognise that repetition and consistency is what helps to shape our children’s beliefs and priorities. You will need flexibility in time frame you place on when you will reach those preferred child behaviours.

You will also need flexibility in expecting a certain outcome from yourself. Sometimes the solutions you try to implement won’t work, and you’ll have to try another one. That’s okay. That’s normal. They reckon that Thomas Edison tried 1000 different times to invent the light bulb before he was successful. Michael Jordon lost 300 games, missed 9000 shots and 26 times he was given the ball to take the winning shot and missed!

Everything in life comes with hit and miss, and way too often we let outcomes define our worth as a parent, instead of just accepting the reality that parenting is not about perfection, but about awareness and adjustment where persistence, learning, tweaking and sticking to our goal, or knowing when to just let it go and pursue another goal, is in order.

Keep your self-worth out of it and keep focusing on where you are right now, where your child is at, what you want for you and your child, and how you can bridge that gap.

"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 to commit to Anger Management in parenting

“I try so hard to change, but every time I vow never to get angry again, I just end up giving up, falling back into the same habits, and then I give up, feeling like a complete failure”

This is such a common sentiment of frustrated parents.

We get angry. We feel guilty. We apologise. We hate ourselves or beat ourselves up. We vow to be calm next time. We don’t. Repeat.

But it’s not like you haven’t tried, right? You really have. You have probably researched anger management suggestions – take a deep breath, walk away when angry, take more time out.

You’ve researched child behaviour strategies in an attempt to change your child’s behaviour so you don’t need to get so angry

But the cycle still repeats itself or you change for a little while, but it all comes creeping back in.

How can you stay committed to being calm?

Has there ever been a time where you repeatedly made a mistake, over and over again?  Every time you do it, you say to yourself, ‘why do I keeping doing that? I really should stop that.’  But one day, you do it again, only this time it caused you so much pain, it was imperative that you never made that mistake again. Your commitment to change became a MUST, instead of just a ‘should’.

This happened to a client of mine.  Here is her story.

“It was a typical morning where my 12yo was too slow getting ready for school. As usual, I nagged, she ignored, I got angry, she got defiant and disrespectful, I yelled some more and she got upset.  But I had had enough. I ranted all the way to school.

‘You’re always running late. You make me so late for work. I’m so tired of everything having to be YOUR way. You think the whole world revolves around you.  But it doesn’t. You know while you were at camp last week, I didn’t have one problem getting your siblings ready for school, but you return and here we go, back to being late again.  I’ve had enough of your behaviour. Stop being so selfish!’

It wasn’t one of my finest moments.

I dropped her off at school, and left, trying desperately to get to work on time. However on my way to work, I received a call. My daughter was a mess. She was inconsolably crying and wouldn’t let anyone talk to her and wouldn’t go to class. I had to turn around.

I got to the school and sat down with her. Now I was a mess. We both cried and talked it out. As we discussed what had happened, my daughter revealed to me that she had perceived my rantings to mean that the family was better off without her and that she was not wanted in the family. I was gutted.  I couldn’t believe I’d made her feel this way.

It was at that point I realised, something HAD to change. I had tried to change in the past, but now I realised the pain I was causing my children by my outbursts. I HAD TO find another way.’

This mum, was motivated by pain, which is often what shifts us from a ‘should’ to an unequivocal ‘must’.

You see, time and life can really get the better of us and parenting can be ridiculously challenging, but what I have seen with the thousands of clients that I work with every year, that programs like our 28 Day Tame your Temper Parenting Challenge or other programs that initiate changes, become a huge priority when you are at the point where change is an absolute MUST.  

ALL decisions and actions we take, come from our priorities. Our priorities come from our ‘stories’ (our perceptions) on life. We are always motivated by the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. This is always our agenda behind anything.

Think about this scenario:  You have a whole list of things you need to get done for the day – cooking, cleaning, lunches, washing, etc., however your best friend calls you in tears and tells you that she’s really struggling in life and about to do the unthinkable.

What do you do?

You drop your list of to-dos, you get the kids sorted and you get over there A.S.A.P! Naturally you made it a huge priority.

Why did you do this? 

Because the pain you felt when hearing her tears and you contemplating life without her, and the pleasure (if you could call it that) you sought from being able to help her to stay in this world, HUGELY overrode your ‘pleasure story’ about your to-do list that was initially your priority before the call.

Consider another scenario:  You know you ‘should’ do your to-do list, but you’ve had a big day, you’re tired and the kids have been challenging. There’s a moment when they’ve all gone to bed and your favourite TV show is on.  You decide to watch TV and ‘stuff the housework’.  Why did you do that?

Because in that moment, you felt the pain of the day, mixed it with the pain of the chores (effort, boredom, whatever) and you moved towards the more pleasurable option.

However, throw in an impending visit from a highly anal, house cleaning freak of a mother or mother in law, and all of a sudden, despite the pain of your day, there’s even more pain attached to having the house a mess for your visitor, so you force yourself to get up and clean up.

3 ways to make anger management your top priority

In regards to your anger, to find the motivation to learn how to be calm and really commit to the effort it takes to break the habit to yell, then I suggest you do the following to give yourself the ‘ammo’ needed to change the ‘should’ to a ‘MUST’!

  1. Talk to your kids about how they feel about your anger.  If they aren’t old enough to talk, that’s okay. You can just observe their responses to your yelling.   
    What effect are you having on them? Hear it from their mouths.
    Not so you can feel guilty about it. Don’t go down that road as that’s just a cop out saying, “I SHOULD do this, but I didn’t so I’ll just beat myself up instead’.  
    You’re doing this exercise to give yourself a wake-up call that promotes a MUST –  To FEEL the pain of your angry reactions.   Hear what they are saying/feeling about it.  Ask them how they feel about themselves or how they interpret things when you get angry. Understand the impact your anger is having on them so you start to associate immense pain to getting angry.  This is really important. You want to feel that anger is causing you pain.

  2.  Write an EXHAUSTIVE list of the cost this anger is having on yourself personally, and the quality of your relationships.  Take into consideration what this anger has already cost you in your life, look at how much it will cost you if you continue for the next year, the next 5 years, the next 10 years, the next 20 years, when you’re an old lady/man, what will life be like if you continue with anger being your default?

  3. And finally, it’s REALLY important that you go the other way too (otherwise you’ll just be only focussing on the awful.  There is another side to all this).  What will life be like when you change, when you’re calmer?  What will it FEEL like to be calm? How will that benefit your life? In what ways?  What will life be like in a year from now, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, when you’re an old lady/man looking back on your life?  How will things be different? What is life already like when you are calm, cool and connected with your kids? What do those times feel like?

You see, when you attach enough pain to your current behaviour, to the point where you cannot possibly live with this behaviour any longer, and equally, attach immense pleasure to the goal of changing, you will find your motivation and you will make change a priority.

Until then, you will find excuses and you will place it by the wayside in lieu of other things you are making a priority (because they are more pleasurable or because you are avoiding more intense pain through your reactions).  Your brain will keep finding evidence of how you ‘don’t have time’ or ‘something else is more important’.

Even now, as you read this article, there will be many of you saying, “But I can’t. I’ve tried all that. ‘This’ situation stops me. My depression stops me. It’s hereditary. I don’t know any other way.”

This may be confronting, but listen to those stories you tell yourself about why you can’t change and don’t allow them to stop you.  There are millions of people in the world who have overcome the most unbelievable challenges because they decided that they WILL NOT give up. There was no other option but to completely immerse themselves in learning, growing, practicing and committing to getting to their goal. There is absolutely no reason why you cannot do the same with your anger.

I, too, have had to walk this road from anger to calm. I still have to commit to everything I teach in the 28 Day Tame your Temper Parenting Challenge in my own life.  But I remember that day when I screamed at my kids and saw the look of fear on their faces and had my meltdown. I’ve had to walk this very talk that I’m now teaching you.

You might have to work for it. You may have to do some digging. You may have to resolve some issues. But the outcome will be so worth it.

You have it in you. You just need to decide whether change is going to remain a ‘should’ or a MUST.

Is the ‘no smacking’ rule really making our kids into monsters?

Message from a parent to the PSC…

As I reflect on my childhood and growing up I wonder if we are creating parents who are too soft?

What I mean by this is when I was younger and I did something wrong I would get a whack across the bottom with a wooden spoon – granted, this was a last resort and there were warnings before this, however I know that I learnt my lesson and wouldn’t be repeating that behaviour anytime soon.

My parents were not violent in any way – yes they raised their voice when needed etc, but I was disciplined and I learnt respect for my parents – they were the boss, not me.

When I fast forward 25 years and I look at all the rules there are around how we discipline our children today and the generation of youth coming through – are we being too soft?

I say this because it seems we have a generation that has little respect for authority (be it teachers, parents, police etc) and I often wonder is this because there are so many rules that stop us from disciplining our children a bit more firmly?

Please don’t take this the wrong way as I certainly don’t want to hurt my child and be a parent that resorts to this as I understand children repeat our behaviour etc – but it never did me any harm when I needed to be brought into line.

I’m hoping you can give me your thoughts on this as it’s something I do think about often when I watch the news and see these teenagers (who seem to be getting younger and younger) that are committing terrible offences and I ask myself where are their parents and why are they getting away with this?

Jackie Hall’s response:

It’s a question that many parents ask (although are often afraid to voice it out loud. However, I’m so glad that one participant did. This was my response….

The first thing that I want to say, is that there is value that comes from everything. Whenever we experience something painful, we learn. Whenever we experience something enjoyable, we learn. Highs and lows are a part of life, and they always lead to other highs and lows.

With every approach we take with parenting, it will always lead to another consequence and another experience that will be learnt from and lead to more learnings.

My stand point on physical discipline is, yes it can manage behaviour, but there are other ways to go about it that are much more empowering to a child if handled correctly.

When, as children we did the ‘wrong thing’ in the past and got a whack for it, we did learn not to do that again, but what else did we learn in the process. After working with thousands of clients over the years, I see over and over again that at the core of parental/adult stress is childhood beliefs that came from how their parents administered discipline and how they treated their children. Of course this is not exclusively the cause, but very often it is very much the cause.

I see that parents who were physically disciplined grew up adopting a perception of self, such as…

  • I’m not good enough. I didn’t try hard enough, wanting to please others, needing to please others to feel good enough
  • The pressure to get life right or do more, be more, have more, achieve more to get life right in order to feel any sort of self-approval (the belief, only when others approve of me can I feel I can approve of myself)
  • Wanting to be the peacekeeper because they hate the conflict that comes with challenges that stemmed from childhood conflict.
  • Acting in the same angry ways because that’s what you do when you don’t get your own way. That’s what was modelled.

And this is not even an exhaustive list of beliefs that can be adopted from physical punishment as a child.

Now if you had a family environment as a child, where there was plenty of light and shade in the relationship – for example, your parents were open to communication, played with you, loved you, gave you loads of affection, flexibility, you had a say, etc, then the repercussions of getting smacked most likely paled in comparison to the reference points of love that you received from your parents, so you may not have gained beliefs from the smacking that still impact you today.

However, rarely was physical punishment delivered in this way, especially not at the time of administering it. Smacking is almost always chosen because of anger and issues of control from the parent. It’s more than likely not coming from a place of teaching you a lesson, but more to punish you for what you did wrong or trying to control you into submission.

Discipline, does not even mean punishment though. It actually comes from the latin word disciplinaire, which means – to teach.

There are other ways to teach children to WANT TO co-operate. There are other ways to teach children respect. There are other ways to teach children consequences for their actions that still teach them the error of their ways, but also teach them how to correct their own behaviour, but the issue is, these ways take time, repetition, consistency and patience.

If we fast forward to today’s society, from the time of physical punishment to now, the effects of smacking have been widely documented so we’ve been given a very strong message that smacking is a taboo approach to use, but the problem is,  up  until recently, there was no replacement offered for it either. This gap is what organisations like

The Parental Stress Centre of Australia and PPP and similar organisations are trying to teach parents now – to help them know what to do instead of smacking.

The reason why we are seeing kids so unruly these days, is a complex one, and it’s not necessarily about the elimination of smacking but a combination of the fast paced nature of modern society, a pressure filled get-your-life-right-now society, the effects of an adult’s childhood self-worth issues and how they deal with their world and thus, their children, and the lack of information on how else we can teach our kids if we aren’t administering physical discipline.

On top of that we are seeing more strong willed children coming into the world with a confidence that won’t accept being bossed around and who, even if you resorted to smacking, are likely to buck the system anyway and move you even further from the relationship you want (unless of course you have loads of ‘light’ – fun, love, affection, joy, respect, communication, letting them have a say etc., to offset the very few times you use it when you’re not getting angry….again, a rarity).

So what you get is a generation of people trying to control children (parental, societal, educational), unable to do it and feeling at a loss as to what to do, leaving kids also confused, unloved, misguided and angry as hell because they aren’t getting what they want either.

It’s very common to see in human nature, that if there is no easy answer and things get too hard, it’s easier to stick our head in the sand. The problem escalates and we keep going round and round in circles. Hence why it appears that physical discipline was an answer that worked.

As part of evolution, we have learnt a lot about the long lasting emotional effects of physical discipline and so many parents aspired to eradicate it and do something different. But with all change, there must be period of transition, and that’s where I believe we are today.

People like myself, and those who are ready to take those steps towards change, join programs, like ours, because you’re looking for those alternative solutions, and that’s a great thing.

At the PSC, we are seeing kids become beautiful, co-operative, happy, confident kids because their parents are learning how to separate their own stuff, from their child’s behaviour – ie stop personalising it, resolve their own past hurts, and then approach their child’s behaviour from a place of teaching and modelling.

Parents are learning to accept the reality of where their kids are in their physical and emotional development and are approaching their behaviour in the spirit of co-operation, communication, kindness, connection, loving consequences and showing kids what respect, love and kindness is. Kids mirror this, because that’s how the brain learns, and so the cycles are slowly breaking.

But in this transition period, these ways are just starting to be learnt, adopted and mastered.

What is required is an educational approach, not a corporal punishment one. Isn’t that what we’re trying to stop in the world when we’re trying to create peace and stop war?

Our kids are just like us. They want the same thing as us – love, connection, approval, appreciation, to feel good enough. When we treat them that way, we show them how to be that way.

When we teach them the realities of life through our consequences, teach them how to get what they want amicably, teach them to negotiate, and the benefits of showing others love and respect, they start to feel the discord of their own actions when they don’t behave this way. It won’t resonate with them. It won’t feel right. They won’t need you to teach it. They will FEEL it.

We don’t need to smack our kids to learn respect. We just need to show them what respect looks like. Let them FEEL the discord of their actions by asking them questions like:

Does that [behaviour] actually make you feel better?

Is there another way we can help you feel better that will actually get you what you want [because what you are doing isn’t actually going to lead you to what you want – ie tantrum, backchat etc]?

When you act this way, it makes you feel ‘x’, but if you do ‘y’ you will probably feel much better.

Or, how can you move towards a better feeling place and get more of what you want? Does this behaviour move you closer to what you want, or further away?

These sorts of questions help a child learn to be their own internal guidance system. It teaches them to make their own decisions. You still work with them on the rules, rewards and consequences (notice I said work WITH them) and they still experience the results of their decisions, but they start to learn they have choices and what feels good and what doesn’t.

As humans, kindness is innately born within us. We come from pure sensory energy where we know no labels or judgements. We are born with very few neural connections in the brain – enough to eat, sleep, heart rate and very basic human functions. The rest is learnt through environment.

If we show our kids how to feel the discord of our actions, show them how to be kind, respectful, remorseful, honest with ourselves, etc. If we teach them how to handle life’s ups and downs and see the value in our mistakes and challenges, and we teach them to feel good about themselves, then all this dysfunction we are seeing in our young kids will stop.

But we have to BE the change we wish to see in our kids and as a society we have a long way to go in letting go of our own stressful thinking lessons to find the ultimate balance in how to teach our children to feel good too.

It’s a big question and a big answer too, thus there are no simple solutions.  However modelling how you want your child to behave and treating your home as though it’s a training ground for life by showing them cause and effects of their choices and decisions (ie natural consequences), are two of the most powerful tools you can use instead of using smacking for discipline.

Other relevant articles:

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…


"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

What Are You Like To Live With?

Spinning back in time and I am observing me in the heat of arsenic hour when my kids were 2 and 3 years old.

They were whinging, clinging, the house was a mess, dishes everywhere, dinner trying to be cooked, I’m tired. I don’t want to be dealing with any of this. It’s been a long day and I’m hanging for my husband to come home to help take the load off.

Cue the telephone call from hubby.

“I’m going to be late.”  Those 5 dreaded words that no worn out stay-at-home parent wants to hear when they are so desperately needing a break.

“Oh, whatever then!” was my unappreciative, rude and short reply before I hung up in disgust, acting like he meant to be late from work. Like he didn’t give a damn about what I was going through. Doesn’t he know that I need help over here?!!!

Fast forward an hour or so and hubby walked through the door to a pissed off wife, a grunt as I handed over a child to be washed and as I continued to do the relentless amount of chores needing to be done.

What must it have been like to live with me back then? A nightmare! And my husband is not afraid to tell me so.

So today, I want you to think about what you are like to live with? If you work from home, or perhaps go to work during the day and at the end of the day you are tired, what is it like for the other people in your family to have to deal with you?

I want you to think about this because quite often, we look to others to blame them for how they are treating us and what they are doing to make us unhappy. But how often do we turn those pointed fingers back around to ourselves and see the part that we play in our relationships?

What if, today when you got home, or your partner gets home, you greet them with a smile, a ‘how was your day’, a “I really missed you today”  and a warmth that serves to mix things up a bit.

Make an effort and you might just find that those ‘feral’ times of the day, don’t have to be so feral.

Taking Responsibility,


My Breakdown (I was in tears writing this)

“Nobody knows…..nobody knows but me that I sometimes cry. If I could pretend that I’m asleep when my tears start to fall. I peek out from behind these walls…I think nobody knows…..nobody knows, no….”

Every day, I put on the facade. My friends didn’t know. My husband sometimes knew. And to everyone else, I was easy-going, happy, friendly and coping well with my two toddlers only 16 months apart. To everyone else, I loved being a mum and had it all under control.

But inside was a war zone – with myself.

It was an endless cycle of loving motherhood, hating motherhood, being tired, pissed off, flipping out in anger, feeling guilty and hating myself. I threw things, screamed, swore, then would see the scared looks on my toddlers’ faces and then fall to my knees in a heap, devastated at the mother I had become.

I felt like I was everything I swore I would never be as a parent and felt I was failing miserably.

But there was no way anyone was ever going to know that. I was the achiever. I got things right! I was SUPPOSED to be a good mother. How could I tell anyone that I had failed? How could I even admit that to myself?

So I sat there and suffered day in and day out until finally, after getting so angry, I slammed a knife on the bench so hard in anger, that it bounced off and narrowly missed my (then) two-year old’s head, I finally realised enough was enough. I had to change, so I dedicated my life to doing exactly that!

After retraining myself to completely change the way I felt about parenthood, I began to educate other parents that YOU ARE NOT ALONE and you don’t have to go through this feeling alone.

You can turn all this around and I want to help you to do so. I don’t want anyone to feel the way that I did.

I want you to know that there are so many parents feeling the same way that you do, the way that I did, and I don’t want you to ever feel ashamed for what’s happening for you right now.

You are not a bad parent. You are a parent who just needs a shift in their mindset, an education in self-worth. A parent who is just receiving a wake-up call for their personal development.

On the other side of this you are a confident, happier, calmer and reality-focused parent who is able to share your new found wisdom with your children and help them avoid depression and anxiety in their futures.

This is, undoubtedly, the hidden good in all this. So when will it be time to learn how to change? Today. Don’t leave it any longer. You can do this.

Showing you the way…


To find out how we can help you, head over to our Bring My Family Calm Program that will help you to turn it all around.

I Stopped Myself From Having One Of ‘Those’ Mornings

This morning was one of those chaotic, can’t find anything, running late, have to get out the door on time, kids have the shits kind of morning. You know the ones. They can potentially lead to you having just as big a meltdown as the kids.

Except, instead of just getting over it, like the kids do, these mornings tend to leave you feeling really guilty all day because of how you treated your kids.

These are the types of thoughts that went on in my head to change the default thinking that usually sends me into anger.

  • This is just one of ‘those’ mornings. It’s not a reflection of the rest of my day (or my life).
  • The reality is that Ryan can’t find his shoes so I’m going to have to help him look for them. Now where could they be?
  • Jackie, stop! The reality is that Ryan (8yo) has woken up in a feral mood. Do you really think shouting at him and getting angry is going to get him out of it? Just give him a hug instead. Get out of the world of you and your ‘late-ness’ and focus on Ryan and what he needs from you right now. You know this is more likely to speed him up.
  • Seriously, how much later am I really going to be. Is it really going to matter if I’m 15 minutes late. Calm down. Take a step back and focus on what we need to do. The reality is, this morning didn’t go to plan.  It happens. Move on.
  • When I finally get out the door, these moments are going to be a thing of the past. It won’t even matter by this afternoon.
  • Change the picture! I know you wanted the dishes done before you left, but today, it’s just not going to happen. That’s okay. Life will go on and that doesn’t matter either.

Oh yes, I’m going to say it again:

 All stress is conflict between beliefs (what you’re thinking) and reality.

Notice your thoughts that send you into stress and anger and practice pulling your attention into alignment with reality by accepting what is in front of you, looking at it from the perspective of the bigger picture and get solution focused about it.

In the grand scheme of things, will it really matter in one year’s time?

Keeping it real…


EVERYTHING is going so shit at the moment!

“Why are they ALWAYS whingeing? They NEVER give me any time out. I NEVER get anything done around here. They’re ALWAYS needing me for something. I’m so sick of dealing with this DAY IN, DAY OUT. Why can’t they just do as they’re told. They NEVER listen to me. NOBODY gives two shits about what I want. I’ve had enough! I can’t do this anymore. I’m tired. Clearly I’m doing something wrong. NOBODY ELSE feels this way. EVERYONE ELSE seems to manage, but not me! I’m hopeless.  Why can’t I get this right. What’s wrong with me? I’m such a failure. I hate my life!”

This used to be a regular conversation that would roll around in my head. Needless to say I would feel pretty crappy looking at my life from this perspective too.

See how I started with one little event and how quickly this little event escalated into meaning something about my whole life!!!

Here’s how I would respond to myself now:

“Really Jackie? ALWAYS. NEVER. NOBODY. EVERYONE ELSE. DAY IN. DAY OUT. These words are making this situation mean something about your whole life, but it’s not really that way is it?

  • The kids do listen to me sometimes. It’s just that they’re not listening right now. 
  • I do get things done around here, I’m just getting frustrated with all the demands, in THIS moment.
  • My family does care about me, but perhaps I’m feeling a bit run down and I need to make some time for myself.  When was the last time you actually planned that time out? Have you specifically asked for some support for yourself? You have to be your own hero, don’t just expect others to know what you want.
  • Not every day is like this. This is just a full on day today. Sometimes we have awesome days where I’ve had enough sleep, the kids are happy and I really enjoy being a mum.
  • EVERYONE! Really Jackie? What proof do you have that EVERYONE is managing, but you? Are you in their heads? The reality is that everyone has challenges and many parents feel the same as you. There’s nothing wrong with you. This is just a tough day.  Other people have challenges and difficulties too. It’s part of life. Even if they aren’t challenged in parenting, they’ll just have challenges in other areas, because that’s how we learn and grow.

You are NOT a failure. So what is the problem that you need to deal with right now and what is the solution?

All stress is a conflict between belief and reality!  Be mindful that your internal conversations are not ‘catastrophising’ a situation that in reality, is just one event in your life that will come and go.

What you’re experiencing right now is NOT a reflection of the rest of your day (or your life for that matter!)

Look at the whole picture…


"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

Other People Judging You?

If someone offers you a gift and you do not accept it, to whom does the gift belong?

When someone passes judgement on you, know that their judgement doesn’t mean anything about you. It means everything about them and what they believe about life.

The only way that someone can affect you with their judgement is if they trigger something within you that already exists. You must already have believed you are what they say, or fear that you could become that, or you feel resistant to ever being that way.

There will be some belief that resides in you that has triggered your response, otherwise you would just shrug it off and not think twice about it. “That’s just their belief,” you would say.

If someone offers you the gift of their criticism and you don’t accept it, it remains theirs not yours.  You always have that choice.

Back yourself!