Are you a parent, walking on eggshells? Never sure when the next firework will go off?
We’ve had Halloween, we’ve had Bonfire Night and we’re nearing the start of silly season… and I wanted to share this little analogy with you.
This time of year really gets me thinking about how fireworks can be a bit like family life sometimes, so bear with me while I take you through my firework story- then let me know if it resonates with you!
A few weekends ago I was at a fireworks display. I was standing there watching the fireworks, the bonfire was going and it was a really bright light – drawing my attention to it.
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“I couldn’t stop watching the bonfire as the flames were flickering all over the place.”
Then I was watching the fireworks going off – they were exploding and beautiful, but it got me thinking – you never quite know whether the next firework is going to be one that goes off with a massive bang, just a sizzle, or one of those really loud screeches. Or is it just going to look pretty?
There’s a real anticipation while you’re waiting to see what it’s going to do, and if you love fireworks, that sense of anticipation and amazement can be wonderful. But it can also potentially be quite stressful because you don’t know what’s going to happen next.
You don’t know how big that bang is going to be, or how whizzy or screechy it’s going to be. And that can be quite hard if you’re feel a sense of stress around fireworks.
I was reflecting on how sometimes family life is like that.
You might have the equivalent of a bonfire in the corner – something that really draws your attention, something that it so beautiful and you’re connected to, ie your child. And then, right on the back of it, there might be a set of fireworks going off – you’re then walking on eggshells and never quite sure what’s going to happen next.
Are you still with me?
If you think about bonfire and fireworks, there is also lots of smoke around them. You can’t quite see through it and it’s blurring our vision. And that’s comparable to the stress in our bodies If we think about it from a stress perspective. You can’t stop the smoke from the fire and the fireworks, but you can reduce it’s impact. You can reduce your response to it.
I know from my experience, certainly in the early days as a parent, that stress was exhausting.
The phrase “I’m on eggshells” is used a lot with so many of the parents I work with, and I too remember how that felt.
It’s akin to fireworks. We never quite know what’s going to happen next. Sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes… not so much.
If you are feeling like that, there are things that we can do to help reduce the impact.
With Connective Parenting NVR we’re really looking at how we can take the stress out of watching the fireworks.
We are looking at how can we help reduce any negative impact and increase the connection with our child so that the anticipation becomes more enjoyable and more fun, rather than full of stress.
If there’s lots of big bangs, whizzes and screeches happening in your house, how can we reduce them so that it’s not so stressful for everybody?
If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while, you’ll be expecting me to say this: some of the solution comes from self care.
Some of this comes from looking after ourselves so that we are in a better place to handle it in the first place.
If we are walking on eggshells because we are highly stressed – which is not unusual – our responses will be different.
When that firework goes bang, we’re much more likely to jump because our body is already stressed.
If we’re in a relaxed state, we’re much more likely to stay calm and connect in the moment.
In terms of reducing the stress in your household, I really do urge you to think about how you can look after yourself better and find out what works for you.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know that I’ve done a lot of work on myself and reducing my own triggers so that I can be calmer and respond in a different way.
I use a lot of EFT to help me regulate and release triggers. I love it so much that we now actually run a monthly session in The Connective Parenting Hub to help release frustration and triggers with an EFT Practitioner for the parents in there. It’s hugely powerful.
If you are in a household that feels like it’s very loud fireworks all the time, Connective Parenting NVR can help, but it starts with you. And that’s often the really hard part.
But as parents, when we acknowledge that we can change the way we’re responding by looking after ourselves better, then we can start to change the dynamics within our family.
The more we can relax our own bodies, the more we are able to help our children co-regulate and feel more relaxed through time.
Without wanting to stretch the analogy too far, if you are watching fireworks – you’re with your children waiting anxiously for the next bang – my advice to you is to look after yourself first, then think about ways you can co-regulate with your child to help them be in a better, calmer state. Through that, you’ll be able to see the beauty of the fireworks.
Through my training and support in The Connective Parenting Hub, I can help you discover the Connective Parenting NVR approach and we can work together, in our community of other parents who “get it”, to reduce the anticipation of fireworks in your home.
If you’re a professional who works with children and families, click here for more helpful resources and support.