If you really want to get to know yourself, become a parent. As I started to fall asleep recently this pearl of wisdom came crashing in! As a parent I have experienced every human emotion possible and have expressed each and every one in ways that I am not always so proud of. As any parent can attest, kids really do bring out the best and the worst in you.
The Gremlin-Taming Method, created by Rick Carson, gives me a road map for being the kind of parent I want to be. It is a way that I check in with myself.
There are three steps to the method which I have outlined here to get you started. Be sure to read Rick's book, Taming Your Gremlin for a complete explanation. It’s full of lots of exercises to help you get to know your own personal bully.
Step 1: Simply Notice
By simply noticing, I observe how I am showing up as a parent and if it reflects who I am naturally or if I have taken on the beliefs and behaviors of others simply out of habit or unconscious loyalty.
Step 2: Play with Options
Once I have noticed something I’m perhaps not crazy about, such as how often I yell at our kids when I would rather be playing with them, I play with my options, with the range of possibilities for what I want to do with what I just noticed. That might be experimenting with how I express my anger or putting aside a load of laundry to jump on the trampoline. Bottom line: I get to choose, not my Gremlin.
No Gremlin, no guilt! Playing with Options creates an inner experience that goes beyond words when it comes to knowing that I am responsible for what I create with the circumstances that life brings me. This is a tremendous gift to pass onto our children.
Step 3: Being in Process
Simply put, practice Step 1 and Step 2 every day and you’ll be more content than you’ve ever been. Gremlin-Taming is a verb, an active process. It’s not simply another concept or a good self-help tool. It’s akin to meditating, running or playing the piano. You get better the more you work at it.
The Gremlin-Taming Institute offers many ways to guide you in your process. Check out our workshops, sign up for a teleclass for parents, let us design a presentation for your child’s school or PTA, wear a Gremlin-Tamer bracelet. We are available to work with you on difficult family situations or transitions into different phases of child (and parent!) development through our private lessons.
A note from Jane Massengill
Here are some other tools to help you with Gremilin-Taming for Kids!