Being a parent means being a patient partner. Not always easy!

Hello there partners,

Having worked for years in the field of communication, one thing is clear – for many of us walking and talking Partner in our close family and/or intimate relationships can be far more challenging than in our professional lives. Especially when it comes to parenting!

Keep in mind that we show up as Partners, most of the time. Unfortunately the triggers that may cause us to slip into Predator or Prey are plentiful. Some of those triggers include feeling under stress, pressure, perceived threat or even a crisis. Or simply when we’re hungry, angry, (or both, known as ‘hangry’), lonely or tired (I’ve had two of these triggers already this morning since starting this article!) Some land mines will take us completely by surprise (i.e. unexpected traffic jam or a child who can’t find their other shoe!). Some land mines we can predict – we all know a few hours without food or snacks reduces most human beings to a fit of tears no matter how young or old we are.

Take a moment to read on and discover if my advice can help you in those hair-pulling moments. So, how can you stay Partner with your kids on a rushed school morning?

Step 1: Become more attentive to both predictable and unpredictable land mines:

  • If possible, set your alarm 15 mins earlier to get that head start with breakfast or some time alone for your bulletproof coffee, before the children awake and the madness begins!
  • Organise school bags/shoes/clothing in the evening just before bedtime and with your child
  • If all goes to plan, consider leaving 10 minutes earlier, leaving legroom for traffic jams
  • If you manage to do all these things you should feel like a rockstar!

Step 2: Pick your battles:

  • If fatigue has set in with your child, you, or worst case scenario both, this is the moment to choose only what is essential. For example if your child doesn’t want to finish their vegetables and death is not imminent, this is the moment to take the high road (you may need to put your ego to the side).
  • Focus on the bigger goal: progress without a Predator/Prey breakdown. If you do manage to stay Partner under pressure, be sure to celebrate!

Step 3: What to do if you fail miserably…

  • Be kind to yourself, do not beat yourself up for getting it wrong! It takes time and a gentle approach to change these behaviours. In fact the kinder you are with yourself when you fail, the more rapidly you will see improvement.
  • After some time has passed (and perhaps a glass of wine), analyse the event through the lens of the Partner model and ask yourself ‘how would I do that differently as a Partner?’ Although you won’t be able to repair what has already happened, simply analysing it (a form of visualisation) is another way to build Partner muscles. This will increase the chances of you being more successful the next time a land mine surprises you!

One major piece of advice:

Make time for you and your child, however you can, whatever it may be doing. Here is a wonderful example of Partner Parenting. Take a leaf out of Claire and her Daddy’s book…they create music together. ENJOY!

You’ve Got a Friend In Me – LIVE Performance by 4-year-old Claire Ryann and Dad

Happy Partnering,