Love vs. Brain dead
The very first and, in my opinion, the key to improving our relationship and fostering LOVE in our households is to learning to go BRAIN DEAD. This is when our kid is upset and full of emotion about whatever subject and we just stop talking, stop yelling, stop reacting. Yes, we just STOP our emotions from flowing back out of our mouths and bodies. It's not easy but if you want more LOVE it is essential that you master this basic skill.
When we go BRAIN DEAD, we can add a brief comment like "I know" or a simple grunt without any words as we walk away.
Why go BRAIN DEAD?
Because in times of emotion NO ONE IS THINKING! Our love is destroyed when we yell back, when we argue. When emotion is involved, a person is in "fight or flight" mode in their brain and all executive functions are essentially turned off. The same is true for us, when our emotions have kicked in we aren't thinking rationally either -- we really, really need to GO BRAIN DEAD. If we go BRAIN DEAD and walk away from an argument we give both ourselves and our kids time to calm down.
"But, what if my kid calls me a mean name? I can't let them get away with that, it's disrespectful!"
Respect is certainly what we want in our homes. However, when disrespect is countered with yelling and telling during a time of emotion you should know that during this time NO respect is fostered It's brought back into our lives when we wait a day or two and find a quiet moment to chat with our child about how certain words really hurt our feelings. Some parents might even throw in how it drained their energy to hear such words. :)
A REAL STORY
I know this post is getting a little long but I loved this real story that one of my parents sent in about how love was restored in her home when she learned how to go BRAIN DEAD and give EMPATHY. Here is her story:
I had taken L&L class a year ago and have been using some of the techniques to diffuse arguments. In the beginning when I went brain dead and used "I know" my daughter seemed happy but then soon realised that when that statement comes, things don't go very well for her. So she started getting angry. I had to change the statement.
Now that I'm taking the class again, this time around after your first lecture, I learned that it's okay for my kid to see what we are learning in the parenting class. I had taken a set of cds to listen to and since I only have a cd player in the car I thought she can hear it as well on our drive. She was shocked to hear the first 10 minutes of it and said "Hey! you have been using it on me. Not fair!" I just smiled. From that point on she is using "I know" and "Nice try" on me whenever she is not happy with what I am saying or is upset or no reason at all. The other day I told her,"I love you" and she said, "Ha! Nice try!"
I was a bit worried at first but I simply kept telling her that I love her or I don't want to argue because I love her and I really meant it. Because I was empathetic and went brain dead she didn't know what else to say and most of the times replied with "I love you too" and sometimes explained why she was upset/sad/angry etc.
Now after few days, I feel it is a good thing. She is not using statements like, you are bad/ you are mean etc. which on some level used to hurt me. I just remember to go brain dead. There is not hurt, not much arguments. It's mostly "I know" and "Nice try" from her and "What did I say!" and "I love you" from me.
Also remembering to be empathetic and saying the statements genuinely is helping.