Most of you have heard of the 80/20 rule. In the case of applying it to therapeutic parenting, it means getting 80% of the positive impact with the first 20% of your effort. You might be surprised by what I am going to suggest as the first 20% of effort. Here goes. I am steadied for the backlash.
- First things first. Get solid respite every week for yourself. Fight stress. You cannot be a therapeutic parent without remembering who you are. It might be hard to remember you are a strong, loving, happy, calm person if you are sitting in a bubbling hot pot of attachment challenged kid stew. Find support so you can have a whole day to yourself one day a week. I am not kidding. This is imperative. Stress kills.
- Get a clean diet. Not the diet thing again, Ce! Yep, sorry. You will be an incredibly better therapeutic parent when you have a whole food, low grain, no processed food, no cane sugar, low fruit sugar, and gluten/alcohol/caffeine free diet. Give up sugar when I need emotional relief, are you kidding? Nope, still not kidding. Bring the kids along on a slow saunter through the Farmer’s Market–Davis has a kid friendly one. If you have a clean, non-inflamed body, your kids will, too. This is one of the ways to bust kid and parent stress. If you think you and your kids are not under stress from a poor diet, I’m on the floor laughing hysterically behind your back. I know this notion feels overwhelming when you are under the bubbles of the boiling therapeutic parenting stew. Frankly, it is easier to eat clean, than it is to do therapeutic parenting on junk food or a semi-clean diet. Get really clean and see. It will surprise you. Whole30 is all the rage right now. This is your chance to be on trend with all the hip people. Okay, I know that doesn’t matter to you. Just trying to find any kind of motivation for you to de-stress your body.
- Get sleep. Go to bed early. Put the kids to be early, too. Everyone is better with sleep. When yo eat clean, your sleep will improve. I promise. Find out the quality of your sleep by downloading Sleep Cycle to your phone; it’s free. Bonus: this app has the best slow-wake alarm. It wakes you up gently when it notices your sleep cycle can be best interrupted. Try not to startle yourself awake in the morning by some deafening alarm–talk about a stressful wake up call. Having to regulate first thing in the morning because your alarm shot your cortisol between your eyes is the hard way to face the day.
- Find some kind of daily stress reduction activity. Simple meditation, do yoga, sing, dance, workout, walk, quietly sit before the little buggers wake up, sip tea at midday with an inspirational read, and/or make love, get cuddled, pet the catdog or hug yourself tight for a few minutes. Do this like a religion. If you pray every day, you are on to something. If you are not a believer, you better find something that looks a lot like praying. Your mind and body will thank you for it. Like all healthy things, consistency is key. You must do it every day for it to matter on any day.
There you have the 20% effort that will give you the jump on positive outcomes from therapeutic parenting. The actual parenting stuff is mostly regulation. If you routinely do the four things above, you will be able to keep your holistic head in times of child shenanigans. That’s 80% of therapeutic parenting right there.
Attention regular monthly support group attendees:
Our Monthly Support Group for Therapeutic Parents will not be held on the 2nd Wednesday in September, 2016. We will have an alternative group meeting on the 3rd Wednesday of September, which is September 21st at 6pm at our office at 3406 American River Drive, Ste D, Sacramento, CA. My apologies for not realizing this hitch in the calendar until just now.
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