With many families in isolation right now, I imagine that parents all around the world will be starting to feel STRETCHED to their limits.
I want to share with you a strategy that I’ve found can be particularly helpful when I’ve “hit a wall”!
👉 PLAYFUL EXAGGERATION is a way of expressing our authentic feelings in a way that is HUMOROUS and NON-THREATENING.
When we’re feeling EXHAUSTED, we’ve run out of ENERGY, PATIENCE, or RESOLVE!
When our other strategies are feeling out of reach, and we are starting to feel a bit desperate!
😬 Fed up trying to get your child to cooperate?
Playfully exaggerate COMPLAINING:
“I don’t want to (e.g. get you ready for bed)! Do I have to?”
😬 Feeling exhausted and just totally over it?
Playfully exaggerate GIVING UP:
“I can’t possibly do any more today! That’s it! Mummy’s finished for the day!”
👉 We can ACT OUT the feelings we have in our body, going floppy and limp, without any energy, and making a SILLY “fed up” facial expression.
👉 We can do GOOFY things, announcing, “I’m exhausted, I’m just going to take a snooze …”, and then pretend to fall asleep in the most uncomfortable and awkward place or position.
👉 Lying down on the floor or sofa and “refusing to go on” can be a great way to SHIFT THE ENERGY, and also give you the opportunity to have a quick rest!
Just be warned – kids will often view it as an invitation for PLAY! So don’t be surprised if they come and jump on you, or try to drag you to a standing position again.
💥 There is also a POWER REVERSAL element
We drop the “in control parent with infinite resources” act.
And our child is likely to step in and take on the role of TELLING US exactly what we should be doing!
👉 “Mummy! You have to get me ready for bed!”
👉 “No! You can’t lie down, you need to get dinner ready!”
To which we can groan, grumble, and complain!
“No, no, I really don’t want to. Do I have to?”.
As it’s usually the other way around in the parent-child relationship, this can really turn the tables and can get lots of GIGGLES from kids!
😝 This allows us to express our authentic feelings in a way that feels “SAFE” for our kids (i.e. without anger, blame, harshness, threats).
👉 We can feel the RELIEF of being a bit “hopeless” for a little while, rather than having to be “in control” and “make things happen”.
👉 And we can LAUGH together with our children, releasing stress, and increasing “feel good” hormones and our sense of connection.
👉 And we can keep playfully acting out being on “strike” until we regain some ENERGY.
All of this can help us to recover enough RESOURCES to carry on doing whatever it is we need to be doing.
And we’re also likely to experience a bit more COOPERATION from our kids as they’ll be feeling more relaxed and connected with us!
I want you to know that you don’t need to do this alone. I’m continuing to offer online parenting support via email during this time.
Whether you just need to feel heard and understood, or you’d like some parenting strategies for the particular situation you’re faced with, I’m here.
As well as having offered parent support for a number of years, I’m an experienced home educator, having followed a “natural learning” approach with my now 10 year old son.
There’s more information on what I offer here: Personal email support
I want to make this support super accessible. So I’m happy to offer a heavily discounted rate if finances are a concern at the moment. Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.