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UNDERSTANDING BEHAVIOURAL PATTERNS: A PATH TO PARENTAL AWARENESS AND GROWTH




As parents/ caregivers, we often navigate the intricacy of family

dynamics, striving to create the best environment for our children/

young people. Yet, beneath our interactions, lie behavioural patterns

that significantly shape our parenting styles. These patterns, inherited

from our upbringing, have a considerable impact on how we approach

parenthood, unraveling these patterns allows us to consciously break

free from generational cycles. Even in cases of a wonderful upbringing,

parenting remains a complex journey. It's not about blaming our past;

it's about gaining clarity and making mindful choices.

Behavioural patterns represent deeply ingrained ways of thinking,

feeling, and responding, learned primarily from our early interactions

with caregivers. These patterns, whether positive or negative, exert

more influence on our parenting than we might realise. Often, adults

unconsciously replicate the parenting styles they experienced as

children. Those who grew up with nurturing parents may adopt similar

approaches, while others may unknowingly echo less effective

behaviours observed during their upbringing.


How can I identify my behavioural patterns?

Mindfulness, EFT, self reflection, journalling, recognising

triggers are all effective ways to identifying your own patterns of

behaviour.


What is a trigger?

A trigger refers to situations, behaviours, or events that provoke intense

emotional responses or reactions in parents. These triggers can vary

widely among individuals and are often connected to personal

experiences, beliefs, or unresolved emotions from their own upbringing

or past.


Common triggers in parenting might include:

Challenging Behaviours: When children exhibit behaviours that

resemble ones that caused distress in the parent's own childhood or

trigger feelings of frustration, helplessness, or fear.


Lack of Control: Feeling overwhelmed or anxious when a situation

feels chaotic or when a parent/ caregiver feels hopeless or out of

control.

Stressful Situations: Stressful events, such as financial difficulties,

work pressure, or personal stress, can heighten emotional

responses to children's behaviour.

Unmet Expectations: When a child's actions or choices don't align

with a parent's expectations, leading to disappointment or

frustration.

Past Trauma or Experiences: Parents may be triggered by

situations that remind them of their own traumatic experiences or

challenging memories from their upbringing.


Identifying these triggers is crucial for parents as it allows them to

become more aware of their emotional responses and enables them to

respond rather than react in such situations. Becoming mindful of

triggers can help parents develop healthier coping mechanisms,

manage emotions better, and foster more positive interactions with their

children. Seeking support, self-reflection, and using effective coping

strategies, such as mindfulness, Emotional Freedom Technique or

therapy, can assist parents in managing these triggers effectively.


What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is being completely engaged and attentive in the present

moment, without criticism, during both the difficulties and pleasures of

parenting. It involves being mindful of thoughts, emotions, physical

sensations, and surroundings without letting them overwhelm.

Practicing mindfulness helps parents interact with their children and

handle parenting responsibilities with increased concentration, serenity,

and empathy. It's not about reaching a flawless state but about

adopting a more aware and purposeful approach to parenting. This

approach allows parents to handle the intricacies of nurturing children

with more consciousness, tolerance, and inner strength.


Self-Help for Parents:

Emotional Regulation: EFT empowers parents to manage their emotions

effectively. It helps in reducing stress, anxiety, and overwhelming

emotions, providing a sense of calm amidst parenting challenges.

Stress Relief: Parenthood often comes with its share of stressors.

Utilising EFT can assist parents in alleviating stress, fostering a more

relaxed and harmonious household atmosphere.

Personal Growth: Tapping into personal issues and behavioural patterns

through EFT allows parents to address areas they wish to improve. It

promotes self-awareness and growth, leading to more fulfilling

relationships with their children.


Using EFT with Children:

Teaching Emotional Management: EFT can be adapted to suit children's

understanding, teaching them emotional regulation. Parents can guide

their children through simple tapping techniques, helping them manage

emotions like anxiety or frustration.

Bonding and Communication: Practicing EFT together can create a bond

between parents and children. It provides an avenue for open

discussions about emotions, fears, or concerns, fostering trust and

communication.

Building Resilience: Introducing EFT to children equips them with a

valuable tool for handling emotional challenges. It promotes resilience by

offering a method to cope with stress or anxiety, ultimately contributing

to their emotional well-being.


EFT serves as a bridge between parents and children, offering a shared

method for emotional self-care and growth. By integrating EFT into daily

routines, parents not only support their own emotional health but also

nurture their children's emotional intelligence, fostering a more

harmonious and resilient family environment.


What is Emotional Freedom technique (EFT)?

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), often referred to as Tapping, is a

therapeutic method involving gentle tapping on specific acupressure

points on the body while focusing on emotional distress or negative

thoughts. This technique can aid parents in regulating their emotions by

reducing stress, anxiety, or overwhelming feelings. By using EFT,

parents can effectively manage their emotional responses, promoting a

sense of calm and balance. This practice offers a quick and accessible

way to alleviate emotional tension, allowing parents to navigate

challenging situations with greater ease and clarity.


Zoe Tzanetis

Counsellor | Accredited EFT Practitioner

CEO at Solace and Healing

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