Do you ever find yourself in a bad mood and you just don't really want to do anything about it? Maybe you were feeling fine one minute, and then just the right set of circumstances sends you to the dark place... This happens to me fairly regularly. My challenge is to talk myself into turning it around. As I type this I am humored by the fact that this is often something I am trying to encourage my kids to do when they are feeling grumpy. Sometimes though, I'm irritated and I want the people around me to pay.
There. I've said it. I know it makes no sense. But its the truth. I want everyone to know just how bad my mood is.
In the Positive Discipline class that I facilitate we spend time talking about this. We talk about "flipping our lids," and how that is when our ugliest parenting moments occur. Something happens in our brains and we go from the frontal and prefrontal cortex, where all the thinking and problem solving abilities happen, to our brain stem, which is responsible for our survival instincts... We all remember what the survival instincts are right? Flight, freeze or fight???? Hell-O! No wonder we want to take people down when we are in a bad mood - our brainstems have taken over!
Okay, its all well and good to know what is happening in our brains when we are feeling moody, but honestly? The information does not really help me to get over it. So what do we do. Well, we have to decide that the bad mood has to end. What makes you happy? What helps you to calm down. As much as I would like to recommend a whole bottle of wine, I'm thinking that a drunk, happy mommy isn't any more effective that a moody sober one...
For me, I need to get away. A quiet room, some self reflection, the realization that everyone is a little fearful of me in my grumpy mood. More than that, I have a big decision to make. Do I want to feel better? Because like we tell our kids, the only person in charge of you is you. If the answer is no, I don't want to feel better, then we need to find a place for ourselves to wallow that doesn't affect everybody. Just like I tell my melting down 8 year old, it is okay to fall apart and cry in her room, not the middle of the family room, the same is true for parents.
If the answer is yes, I want to feel better, then it is important for us to do what needs to be done. Deep breathing, a funny book, listening to music, exercising, maybe one glass of wine, all of these things may help us snap out of it.
So then what? We need to go make things better with our peeps. We need to make amends. The beautiful thing about this situation is that we get to MODEL behavior we hope to see from kids (yay). Positive Discipline lays out four steps for us to use when making amends -
1. Recognizing the mistake - "Hey guys, mommy was such a grump this afternoon."
2. Accept responsibility for your part - "I was in a bad mood and I wanted you all to feel bad too."
3. Reconcile - "I'm sorry."
4. Resolve - "Next time I am feeling like that, I am going to spend some time in my room until I feel better and can be nicer."
Mistakes are opportunities to learn, right? Well, learn then! Turn that frown upside down and ask for a hug from your child. They are forgiving and full of love... I promise.
XOXO - Casey
If this post resonated with you, and you are looking for support in moving from "moody" to "connected," then check out my new program that starts Monday, September 12th. The Intentional Parent Project. Save your spot NOW!
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