I was asked last week at a book talk I gave, how do I practice being calm when things get rough with Dan. This question is crucial nowadays, because the more Dan advances in his learning and communicating, he also gets anxious. I can almost see him think, “what, you truly expect me to be this smart and capable person?!” (Yes, we do, Mr. and we know you can!) I know this is very scary to be expected so much from your parents and environment.
So these times and this question brought me back to my studies with my mentor Joseph who taught me many ways and techniques to control the situation when things get rough.
Joseph sat with me in front of a calm lake and watched me getting relaxed. Then he told me to close my eyes and picture Dan’s face. When I did that, that knot of nervousness and anxiety in my stomach presented itself. Joseph reminded me how calm I was a second ago and we practiced how I could reach that calm in the midst of a crisis. Parents, try this at home: when your child is anxious, getting upset, even hits you or himself, or both, remove yourself from the situation, as soon as it becomes safe, take a few deep breaths, picture a place that you love, or something that makes you happy and calm. Now let your tone of voice reflect your new achieved calmness. I often say, “Dan, it’s ok, I’m here. It’ll be ok. Just stay with me, and we’ll get through it.” Often, that helps turn things around and he calms down. It is hard, because your natural reaction is to get upset and “show him” that he cannot mess with you, but the calmness is what’s going to be helpful in the end. Try it.