Heather Johnson: ‘This one skill is the most important thing parents need’

There is a lot of advice for parents out there. But when an expert says one skill is the foundation of parenting in general? We sit down and take notes. That “one skill” is mastering your emotions. By controlling your feelings, you’ll be able to handle anything life throws at you.

Heather Johnson shares how to become an emotional master. She shares why this practice is so important for parents, and gives advice on how to do it.

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How Parents Can Have More Emotional Control

Studio 5 Parenting Contributor Heather Johnson is passionate about emotional mastery. She says it is the foundation of anything we want to do in our lives. “Managing your emotions could be the single greatest predictor of success,” she tells us. Here are four ways to become an emotional master.

1. Know who you want to be

“Emotional control doesn’t mean being emotionless; it’s feeling something and knowing what to do with it.”

At the core, self confidence guides this principle. We can’t eliminate frustration or exhaustion. We can control feeling the emotion, and deciding what to do with it.

2. Label the emotion

“What values as a mother, as a father, as a human do you want to stand for? Make decisions with your emotions that support those values.” 

One of the biggest problems is that we don’t even know what we’re feeling. We tend to say we’re mad or angry, when really, we’re embarrassed. So we’re trying to treat anger when we’re not actually mad. Labeling emotions allows us to be in control with our brains.

3. Ask the right questions

“Whatever questions we ask in our brains, we’ll find answers to.”

If you go around thinking “why are my kids so annoying?” you’ll find answers to that question. But if you change that and think, “how do I connect with a child who is not ready for bed?” It will send you in a completely different direction.

4. Forgive

“Forgiveness happens when we stop hoping that the past is going to show up different.”

We need to forgive ourselves, our kids, our spouses, when things don’t go the way we hope. When we put all of our energy into holding on to where things didn’t go just right, we’re not putting it into managing ourselves in the here and now. We have to let go of going backwards and decide that the past can’t change.

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