Here's an example of what I mean. Let's say your child is refusing to do her homework. Look at the difference between these two statements that you might make: "What's wrong with you? You're driving me crazy! You're going to end up like your uncle!" versus "What's going on with you? Your choices here concern me because I'm afraid you're going to hurt yourself in the long run."
The first statement comes from an anxious place; it puts blame, criticism and your own anxiety on your child, and tells her that you're ashamed of her, and that you need her to take away that shame and anxiety. The second statement is thoughtful while also showing your true feelings. Expressing a concern like that will not only get your child's attention, it will also show her that you care deeply.
More from YourTango: Is A Sex Addiction Epidemic Destroying Marriages?
If you are emotionally separate enough, your child will usually understand that it's an expression of your genuine love and concern for her. That's where the real connection happens. Kids want and need us to be separate enough from them so that they can feel deeply connected to us, otherwise there is no us to connect to. 7 Educational Games You Can Play With Your Kids
Another benefit of calm parenting is that if you are separate enough from your child, you can be honest and discuss the realities of what she can handle, talk about what the real world is like, and then state your real concerns. If I'm saying "Your choices concern me" because I'm neurotic, fearful and I won't let my child out of my sight, then it's not coming from a separate place. But, if you are calm and separate, you can be truthful, because it's coming from your authentic parent self, one that's not fused together with your child.
I think the best way to explain anxious versus calm parenting is asking yourself these two important questions when an important decision comes up: (1) Is what I'm doing in my child's best interest, or is it to help me feel calm? and (2) Am I seeing the situation factually and objectively, or am I seeing it from my fear and worries?
Believe me, I know this is not easy to figure out all the time! The good news is that once you're responding from an emotionally separate place, and your child knows it and feels it, they'll be less likely to be drawn into your power struggles, and you'll be able to parent more calmly. What does it take to be able to do this? Here are four important steps you can take to begin shedding anxiety and start parenting more calmly starting now...
More from YourTango: 14 Things Men Love, According To Science