Underused Parenting Tools: A Series for 2016

Tired of yelling, nagging, cajoling?  Always disappointed in them, in yourself, in your not perfect family?  Me too!

Here's what we are going to do in 2016, we are going to sift through, try on and experiment with some very, very underused parenting tools.  These are tools that aren't the usual thing you hear about in parenting classes. I believe, if we focused on theses tools, we would get much better results then trying to change our child (fat chance, no way, give up now, I tried, it doesn't work, it's too frustrating, it ruins the relationship, it's tiring, it's the dark side - seductive, and ultimately destructive).

Let's start with Mountain Pose. Adding in workouts throughout the day is good for everyone. In Mountain Pose we stand up straight, root ourselves squarely to the earth, open up our palms by our sides to accept whatever is coming our way.  We are the mountain, we are timeless, we accept the weather that drifts over us, we are unmoving.  Here's how it works in action . . . 

0-3: This age group is all about fast moving weather.  A crying two year old who has just bit me  suddenly turns into the most delicious, freshly bathed, best smelling child who leans heavily against my chest as I read his current favorite Dr. Seuss.  I might need to use my mountainy arms to hug said child, but think -- "I am the witness, that is enough. This storm will pass. I am strong, solid and unmoving."

3-5: They won't brush their teeth (again!).  They are in the bathroom with each other uproariously laughing about something ridiculous and annoying to me. I stand up, breath in, breath out, pull my shoulders down, suck my abs in and slowly walk into the bathroom and just stand there.  Seriously, I just stand there.  It might take a minute or two, but something happens when our grown-up and calm brain cells mix in the air with their younger, less focused brain cells.  

6-12: All their friends are over, they have been playing the new PlayStation for 76 hours straight. I have 'agreed' to 75 hours straight.  Child has not held up their end of the agreement. I have nicely yelled (not too loud) down the stairs to remind child about agreement. Mmmmmm, should I try Mountain Pose? Sure, let's give it a whirl. I stand up, breath in, breath out, pull my shoulders down, suck my abs in and slowly walk down into the basement. I stand in front of the screen. I wait, they know. I find if I look into the middle distance, with a Mona Lisa smile on my face, it totally freaks out this age group. The tv goes off and suddenly outside is looking super duper appealing. I hear your through the internet . . . "THEY ARE GETTING AWAY WITH SOMETHING!" Mountain Pose doesn't solve the whole problem, but try it. You will have plenty of time and opportunity to practice consequences later. For now, slowly walk back upstairs and enjoy your quiet house. (You're welcome!)

Teens: House rule is that teens phones and laptops stay in common areas.  Discussions, agreements, consequences have all played out to varying degrees of effectiveness.  (Yo! Parents, we can't win against the screens, we gots to just tread the metaphorical water.  It's the best our generation can do.) I am infuriated, I hate the screen, it's too much, I can't handle it (girl's about to BLOW).  WAIT, Mountain Pose?  Can I use it here?  But how will they learn? (not exactly sure how they will learn, but honestly, I tried, I can't do anymore). Mmmmmm, should I try Mountain Pose? Sure, let's give it a whirl. I stand up, breath in, breath out, pull my shoulders down, suck my abs in and slowly walk up the stairs. I enter teens room, it's a mess. I root myself into the ground. I am timeless. The mess is just passing weather. I stand. I wait. If it's a phone, I might hold out my mountainy hand and wait.  1 second passes, 2 seconds pass. Oh CRAP, this isn't going to work, 14 seconds pass, 23 seconds pass.  Gulp, pull in abs, shoulders down. 48 seconds pass. 1 minute 22 seconds pass. Teen growls, hands over the phone, hurls an insult and an eye roll. I am the mountain, the teen eye roll is just passing weather. I slowly exit the room, limit upheld, usual screaming match diverted. The mountain treats herself to some dark chocolate.

DISCLAIMER:  You have to really, really feel the mountain in Mountain Pose.  You can not do Mountain Pose parenting when you feel super duper aggressive and angry.  You can not do Mountain Pose when you are trying to control 100%.  Mountain Pose might work 85% of the time.  

LAST THOUGHT: Here's the thing about parenting tools like Mountain Pose -- it's got no side effects.  You know, like yelling. We all know yelling can work, but everyone has a yelling hangover later.  Mountain Pose might not be the most efficient, you may not feel in control or superior, and it does't leave you with shame, blame or pain later on.

Let's try it once this week, wanna?!