What to do when things get UGLY…(Like Not in a Cute Ugly Christmas Sweater Way but REALLY Ugly!)

by | December 15, 2017 | 0 comments

What to do when things get UGLY…(Like Not in a Cute Ugly Christmas Sweater Way but REALLY Ugly!)

by | December 15, 2017 | 0 comments

Today I’m outlining 5 Tips to Persevere with Positive Parenting Strategies, even when the s*%# hits the fan. When you try a new Positive Parenting strategy and have hopes and expectations of peace, calm, cooperation, & effectiveness but instead end up back at the starting gate and sometimes even worse.

I’ve had so many clients who honestly shared struggles like this in their home when they tried to start:

-empowering instead of overpowering

-redirecting instead of demanding

-connecting instead of correcting,

-compassionately disciplining instead of punishing

-helping siblings solve problems peacefully instead of fixing situations.

I’ve heard story after story about kids who chase their parents and bang on the door for what seems like an endless amount of time (when Mom tries to remove herself for a self-calming break). Or parents who try to facilitate a “peaceful conflict negotiation” between siblings but don’t reach the finish line because they end up lecturing, shaming & punishing in the end because “it just didn’t work”. Or even a kiddo who threw her calming kit down the stairs when her Mom tried for the first time to replace Time-Out with Time-In.

Change is HARD sometimes & it can be a lot easier to throw in the towel & go back to old habits (they are not always healthy, but comfortable since we know how to do them well) than to keep moving forward with persistence, grace, confidence and faith in this work.

Keep reading for 5 Steps to Take if things go south in your home when you’re trying to create change.

Stop & Breathe

Really stop. Stop moving, stop talking, stop taking action & just sit down & take a deep breath.

Take this moment to practice your “Heart Connector” to create a space between the stimulus you are faced with & your response.

In your moment of silence & pause, think of who you really are (on a good day when you’ve had enough rest, exercise, nutrition & love to be in great spirits) and do two things:

1.) Create an I am statement & write it out “I am _______, ______ & _______. Mine is “I am calm, loving & faithful.”

2.) Then, think of a healthy intention – Some of my favorite are:

-To teach

-To model self-control

-To guide with compassion

-To gently discipline

-To be firm AND kind

After you’ve found a healthy intention, then take action. Just slowing down to take a moment to process your emotions is going to re-fuel you & help you remember that you can take some time to solve the problem / challenge at hand. Taking this pause, helps to pivot your momentum….from a freight train towards disconnection, hopelessness & frustration….to hope, encouragement & self-confidence. Click here or below to grab a free “Heart Connector” guide & printable.

Keep Your End Goal in Mind (Where You Are Headed Long Term)

This 18 year (plus) journey we are on as parents is a process and learning to enjoy the journey (both the lows & the highs) is a big part of experiencing “wholeness” as a parent. Staying consistent & on course to reach your long term goals is key.

Remember that captains at sea don’t focus on each wave during a storm, they keep their eyes fixed on land and steering the ship in the right direction. Yes, the boat gets rocky at times, but they stay focused on the end goal.

Where you’re headed should be your strongest guide & I know all of you learning this work want:

-To raise kids who:
  • -Are intrinsically motivated to do good & be good
  • -Are loved unconditionally
  • -Are going to grow up to be strong critical thinkers
  • -Are kind to others because they want to be, not because they have to be
  • -Have 100% trust that they can confide in you & be sure you won’t hurt them (with words or actions)
  • -Are emotionally intelligent
  • -Are strong communicators
  • -Are responsible & hardworking


  • -To build strong connections with your kids through:
  • -Strong relationships
  • -Healthy communication
  • -Mutual respect
  • -Complete trust
  • -A tight knit team


  • -To increase peace in the world, by first building peace in your home through:
  • -Peacefully solving conflicts
  • -Learning to see the world from other people’s viewpoints
  • -Building empathy for others
  • -Increasing your Emotional Intelligence
  • -Building your communication skills to express your emotions & desires respectfully.


Your dedication & perseverance is noble & seen! Keep moving forward & trust in the process. You will see success if you stay the course & don’t give up.


Expect Pushback & Have a Plan

Often, inside the walls of our homes, we have some pretty strong patterns going on that we all get used to. Yelling, power struggles, bickering, begging, pleading, attitudes, tones, etc. These “dances” (so to speak) become “normal” to us, so when we switch it up, kids often react negatively (at first). Trying new things and ending a pattern that is comfortable (even if it’s unhealthy) is a challenging process.

When parents remove themselves from the “dance” & kids no longer have anyone to power struggle with, they can feel confused, angry, alone & scared.

So when you try to have your child do a calming break for the first time, or yourself try to practice one & it doesn’t go so well…it helps to have a plan in place.

Self-Mottos like this can help:

  • -“I’m creating healthy change”
  • -“Change takes time”
  • -“I can do this, WE can do this”
  • -“I am _______, _______ & ______ and I WILL stay the course to teach with integrity”
  • -“Stay the course”
  • -“Emotions will pass, I can practice self-control, I CAN do this”



Remember, Teaching is Best in a Calm Time

No matter how ugly things get in your home or how hard the s&*$ hits the fan, there is ALWAYS a silver lining & learning opportunity to be had.

After things settle, make a plan to take responsibility for your own actions & what you’ll do differently next time, share that with your child & create a plan for teaching him the lesson at hand.

Kids are brilliant & won’t forget what happened, I promise…and they’ll digest the lesson you have for them to learn way better when they’re not in a “Fight or Flight” mode.


Practice Grace over Guilt

One of the most important aspects of this work is developing a deep trust that mistakes & hardships are incredible ways to learn. Don’t beat yourself up if you failed miserably or if your child needs a lot more practice than you expected to master a new way of dealing with heavy emotions or misbehavior. If you’re failing, it means you’re trying. One of my favorite quotes sums it up perfectly:

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” ~ Michael Jordan

Failing means you’re trying and you’re simply not going to see change in your own parenting or family life if you don’t try new things.

Every day is a Fresh Start, so toss that Ugly Sweater in the wash & start tomorrow anew. I promise your kids are going to give you a gazillion opportunities to practice, grow & learn, so just stay in the game & don’t give up.

Always a pleasure to cheer you on!

Learn more about how Positive Parenting Curriculum can transform your life through these Fresh Start Family programs


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