Compassion is the heart of Conscious Discipline. A necessary step to compassion is learning to use the Skill of Composure to manage your upset when life isn’t going your way.
The skill of composure allows you to be the person you hope others will become. It requires self-control and the belief that the only person you can change is yourself. I have been a student of Conscious Discipline, created by my mentor and friend Dr. Becky Bailey, since 1998. My skills have deepened, yet I will always be a student of Conscious Discipline because life is not constant.
Life brings daily conflict, yet most of us don’t like conflict. We will avoid it, pretend it isn’t really there, hope it goes away and, as parents, punish those who bring it into our home. The skills of Conscious Discipline have helped me learn how to choose to respond to conflict versus react to it. Keep in mind, there is a difference between knowing and doing! Even though I know how to manage my upset and many helpful ways to resolve conflict, it doesn’t mean I always choose to do so. Just ask my husband and children; I am sure they have countless stories to share that I prefer to block from my mind. I am learning to embrace conflict more and more, and I hope to pass healthy conflict-resolution skills to my children by modeling these skills in our home.
My children are the heart of my passion for Conscious Discipline. Early on in my parenting, I realized I did not always like myself at the end of the day. I always dreamed of the day I would hold my babies in my arms, the joy that would fill me and the happiness that would fill our home. That did happen, amidst many moments of hearing impatience, frustration and anger in my own voice.
I discovered that parenting would take every ounce of patience and self-control I had, and that many days I would feel like I had little of either. I desperately wanted more joy in my parenting.
Thankfully, I attended a Conscious Discipline Parent Night with Dr. Becky Bailey back in 1998. That night, I began my journey in shifting from a fear-based discipline approach to a love and relationship-based discipline approach. I am thankful beyond words for that transformation. I love being a parent!
My prayer is that within each blog post I write, you will find one nugget of information that is helpful. Focus on that one nugget, and you will feel and see changes start to take place.
Often, change is slower than we would like. Real change takes hard work, commitment and time. Did you know it takes 21 days to form a new habit? For the next 21 days, I have a challenge for you. When life is not going your way, are you willing to practice being a S.T.A.R. as the first step toward composure and compassion? S.T.A.R. stands for Smile, Take a deep breath And Relax.
Envision a pause button on your chest, much like a pause button on a video player. When you notice something or someone has triggered your upset, press the pause button and S.T.A.R. This will help you put a pause (breath) between the trigger (conflict) and your response. This pause provides the space for you to choose your wisdom and compassion over your upset.
If you are willing to undertake this important first step into relationship-based discipline, find a way to signify this commitment to yourself and your family. You can verbalize it, write it down or undertake some action to solidify your intent to be a S.T.A.R. in moments of difficulty.
Every time you choose to be a S.T.A.R., you model self-control so your children will develop it. The composure that comes from being a S.T.A.R. enables you to be the person you hope your children will become when life isn’t going their way. It will help bring you back to the true heart you have for your children, a heart full of compassion.