Parents carry a lot of responsibility. Sometimes it can feel really, really heavy. This responsibility can weigh in the form of guilt, or the pressure to make decisions on a daily basis.
While many daily situations provide us with choices, others are beyond our control. One of the keys to managing all that is happening, is taking responsibility to clarify which is which. Making good choices where we can and choosing how to respond to what we can’t control.
Hal Elrod speaks of his 5 minute rule:
When something bad happens, you allow yourself to feel all of your emotions about it – to really feel angry or hurt or upset or whatever, but only for five minutes. After five minutes, if you can’t change it, you accept it and move on.
Think about when you could apply this rule in your life.
Some of the greatest clarity in this rule comes from recognizing what you can’t control. At Parenting Power, we believe that the only behaviour you can control is your own. You cannot control the behaviour of a child. While you can teach certain behaviours, and can respond to certain behaviours, following through with consequences and respectful talk, you can’t necessarily change your child’s behaviour.
How will you apply the rule?
Will you excuse yourself for 5 minutes to feel your feelings without yelling or belittling anyone else?
Will you ask for 5 minutes? – “I’m feeling really overwhelmed. I’ll be back in 5 minutes and then we can move forward. Thanks for your patience.”
Will you share the idea of the 5 minute rule with your family?
The freedom that comes with this rule is immense: the freedom of releasing feelings rather than bottling them up; the freedom to admit that you can’t change everything; the freedom of recognizing what you can change and moving forward.
There is the final freedom – the intention of changing what you can and letting go of the rest. When we have clarity, we can truly take on realistic responsibility. We can determine what our child’s behaviour is telling us: what is the next lesson that our family needs to learn? What can we control?
Is it sleep, compassion, or manners? Is it follow-through? There is no right answer, it depends on where you are with your family.
Set an intention – find the freedom by letting go of what you can’t change and teaching new ways to change what you can.