It was all Janice could do not to scream.
Her seven-year-old daughter, Sophie, had just asked, “Mom, can I have some candy?”
“Not right now, it’s too close to dinner,” Janice replied.
“Why NOT?!” Sophie shrieked. “You just don’t love me!” (and the tantrum began)
This kind of thing was happening more and more.
Sophie would make a request, and if Janice’s answer was anything but yes, what followed was either fits and tears or a bad attitude with a lot of eye-rolling.
Janice had tried everything she could think of to diffuse these frustrating situations, including reasoning with Sophie in any number of ways (such as saying, “You can have candy after dinner”), but it was never enough to placate Sophie.
Worst of all, when Sophie didn’t get her way, she’d start saying things that scared Janice, like “You don’t love me,” or “I feel like a failure.”
Parenting can be a source of discord for anyone’s relationship, even if you agree on how to parent. That is exactly why Paul and I created so many Relationship Development Parenting tools for our students.
Sophie’s behavior of heading into that scary downward spiral is very common for that age, so when Janice brought this situation to Paul and I on the Live Q&A Call, the first thing we took her through was understanding the pattern of the Infinity Loop.
Think of it like the number eight on its side, so it looks like an infinity symbol. On one side of the infinity loop are sadness and negativity. On the other side are anger and negativity.
Tony Robbins teaches that people stuck in the infinity loop pattern swing through sadness until they get sick of being sad, at which point they switch to being pissed.
When being pissed gets too exhausting, they go back to being sad (it’s a predictable human pattern).
Eventually you exit the infinity loop, but the key is whether you exit it going up, or going down.
Since a lot of people don’t have the skillset to exit the loop going up, they often go DOWN. If their downward spiral isn’t caught before it reaches a certain level, people go so low they start to make it personal, with thoughts like, “I’m a loser.” “What’s wrong with me?” “Life’s not worth living.” “Nobody really wants me to be here.”
That’s where Sophie was headed during her tantrums about not getting her way, so Paul and I gave Janice some strategies to use to help Sophie exit the Infinity Loop going up.
While we can’t cover all the depths of the solutions here that we taught her on the Live Q&A Call with us… I’ll share a few keys with you.
Since Janice was getting triggered by Sophie, Janice’s energy was compounding Sohpie’s negative energy. Kids are “Energy Mirrors”. They will mirror your energy back to you.
So when Janice’s energy changed when Sophie asked for candy, Janice was PART of Sophie’s trigger.
Janice was feeling a “scarcity of time to shut this down before it gets worse” energy. She was also feeling a “why do you have to ask me this when I’ve said this a hundred times” energy. She was also feeling a “please don’t freak out when I tell you no” energy. Not to mention her “when is this going to stop” energy.
Can you relate to any of those when it comes to interacting with your kids?
Yeah, your energy is part of their trigger. When your energy negatively spikes, you are triggering them.
When we helped Janice navigate her trigger, she was much more prepared to show up with a calm and detached energy, to respond to Sophie instead of react.
We also helped Janice make a system and process in her house around candy so that her kids had a predictable time and amount of candy that they got to have each week. They knew in advance what their weekly amount was, what the parameters around consuming it were and it was very predictable for them.
This allowed Janice to stop being the candy-police and allowed her kids to stop seeing her as the person who always says NO.
We also helped Janice manage HER trigger around some of the “darker” things that her daughter was saying. That’s too big a topic to describe here…but maybe we will do a podcast on that soon.
Being a parent is not for wusses, but there are tools and strategies you can use to minimize drama, raise resilient, well-adjusted kids and prevent parenting from becoming a source of fights between you and your partner.
The Live Q&A Calls that Paul and I do with our students are a gold-mine of Relationship Development Parenting tools and strategies! We’ve done so much development of our RD Parenting tool box that this year we are building a Relationship Development Parenting Program! So excited for it!