What’s up with kids’ shoes? If they’re not entirely missing, they take at least a million painful hours to put on. If you’re running late? Forget it. The shoe battle just intensified ten-fold.
If you’re anything like me, at this point you might be thinking, “Ugh, do I really have to deal with this again?”
In situations like this, do you ever find yourself time traveling to the future? You see exactly how the shoe battle is going to play out because it’s the same every single time, right?
Are you stuck in a shoe battle rut?
Welcome aboard the Here-We-Go-Again Cycle. Buckle your seat belts!
When habitual patterns are activated in our relationships, there’s a strong pull to get caught in the Here-We-Go-Again Cycle.
Why am I talking about this Cycle?
It’s situations like the shoe battles that erupt and we as adults can “lose our cool.” If we’re not tending to our emotions, how can we help kids with theirs?
We know that kids are sponges when it comes to absorbing what’s in their environment so to make sure we as adults are tending to ourselves, we’ll not only be better role models for kids, but everyone will be healthier, happier, and connected.
What is the Here-We-Go-Again Cycle?
It’s when we’re mentally, emotionally and physically carrying and bringing forward all of the previous times this same situation has happened. We respond to the present through the filter of past experiences.
It’s when emotions from other similar experiences, like defeat, hopelessness, being drained, etc. enter into our current experiences like an old habit we don’t even realize we’re doing.
So rather than experiencing the current situation with a fresh and unbiased perspective, we adopt old emotions without giving the present experience a chance to be different.
It restricts our ability to engage in creative problem solving. We just do what we’ve done every other time. We’re stuck in a rut and can’t see new options.
How can you end the Here-We-Go-Again Cycle?
Tending to our own emotions when we’re supporting children with their big feelings is part of the Emotion Guide journey. Recognizing and getting out of the cycle is an important skill.
As much as I wish there was a simple stop button, like on an amusement park ride, to end the Here-We-Go-Again Cycle there isn’t.
Here are five techniques that can help:
- Know You’re Caught Up In The Cycle
The first step is being aware of when you’re caught in the cycle. Everything starts with awareness. Read over the identifiers above again and notice when you are in the cycle. Then, mentally label it for yourself. “Oh, I’m in a Here-We-Go-Again Cycle.”
- Stay Present
Avoid the pull of the Here-We-Go-Again Cycle to bend time and space and catapult you into the future. The S.T.A.R. tool is helpful here:
T= Take a breath
R= Refocus on Right Now
- Give Yourself Compassion
Put your hands on your heart. Say to yourself, “I’m struggling right now, Everyone struggles sometimes. I can handle this.” Breathe.
- Make Time
Set aside the hustle and bustle of your schedule. Yes, you might be late. Chances are you’re going to be late no matter what, so why not choose to be late calmly.
- Choose a New Thought or Action
In my work, we call them pivot points. Pivot points are spots in any habitual behavioral pattern where you can choose to either do or think something different than you have in the past. Changing your thoughts and actions can dramatically shift a child’s behavior.
These strategies will help you tend to your emotions so you can create the safe container for the kids in your life to tend to their emotions.
Which technique(s) above resonate for you?
Recognize that to make a lasting impact, these techniques need to be practiced over time. Old habits and patterns don’t change overnight but you’ll create lasting change with these techniques so be patient with yourself.
To quote Jack Johnson’s song Better Together, “It’s not always easy and sometimes life can be deceiving. I’ll tell you one thing, it’s always better when we’re together.”
I believe we are better together and it’s one reason I started the Growing Up Confident Collective.
This is our online community where we support, encourage and inspire one another so we know what to say and do to tend to kids’ emotions and teach them the social and emotional skills they need.
Request your invitation to the Growing Up Confident Collective, here.