I have news for you. It may be frightening and it may be liberating. Regardless, I assure you it's true: There is a control panel wired directly into your brain. Think the Matrix and the weird port in the back of their heads that took them in to the computer world.
Now, guess who's likely operating your control panel... at least some of the time.
That's right, your kids. They have direct access to it.
In the simplest terms possible, YOUR KIDS KNOW EXACTLY HOW TO PUSH YOUR BUTTONS. They know exactly what to say to work you for money, a ride or the new cell phone they want. They know how to make you howl with anger and dance around like a marionette on amphetamines. They know when to be quiet and withdraw so you get concerned and try to draw them out. From a very early age, kids learn what behaviors their parents will respond to and which ones they won't, and their timing is generally impeccable.
In order to have a great relationship with your kids and a peaceful, happy home environment, you MUST remove their access to it. You've got to take back control of it.
Now I don't want you to gloss this over and think "yeah, yeah...I know I need to react a bit better." This is deeper and more important than that. The key to a happy home begins with taking control of your own emotional reactions to the things that happen within it.
Unplug that cable from the back of your head. Say 'No' to Agent Smith. LINK
This begins with taking a deep breath (then another, and another) and staying calm -- even when they're pushing your buttons.
When you are calm, you're in control. When you don't let things rattle you, you're in control. When you're calm and confident, you're the pack leader and you're in control of your house.
Here are the two primary reasons for being in a calm state of mind with your kids:
1. Better Choices: When you are calm and centered, you simply make better choices. In fact, it will be easier for you to realize that you even have a choice in the first place about how you will respond. You can lose your cool and explode or you can take a deep breath, step away for a moment and think calmly about what your options are. When you're operating calmly and positively, you create the mental state necessary to recognize that you actually have options. Instead of going on auto-pilot and reacting strongly with emotions, which is rarely useful, you will be able to determine what tone will be most effective for you to take with your child, and it will be easier for you to get the desired results.
2. Better Role Model: The other reason it's so important to be calm and in control is because it's what you want for your children. As the parent, you are your child's primary teacher. You are the primary role model for how he will handle stress and conflict and how he will get what he wants in the world. Regardless of what your habits have been in the past, it is possible to start modeling new behaviors today. In fact, it's essential. You want your children to be confident, calm and resourceful. You want them to make good decisions that come from within instead of just reacting to the circumstances around them. If you're not doing this in your own interactions withthem, how can you expect them to do the same?
I'm not exaggerating here when I say that the key to all successful interactions with your kids is making sure you're in the right state of mind. If you're tense, frustrated or anxious, then everything that happens in your interaction will get run through this negative filter. It will only make things worse. By contrast, if you start from a calm, balanced state, you -- not your teenager -- are running your control panel.
So, take that DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP breath, pull that plug out of the back of your head and come out of the Matrix. Commit to running your own control panel... NOW!
Joshua Wayne is a Family Coach and Youth Mentor. He teaches parents to eliminate conflict and power struggles with their teens, and bring healthy communication back into the home. You can download his free report, "Are You Making These 7 Parenting Mistakes?" at JoshuaWayne.com.