Kirk Martin's Tricks for Breaking Negative Patterns

Kirk Martin

3 New Habits

Like most good Moms, you have probably spent the past school year devoting your time and energy to your children. You’ve been consumed with meltdowns, homework battles and power struggles.

Summer provides a break from the hectic schedule. You can finally focus on the negative patterns in your house. You can break them, once and for all.

Where should you start? That’s easy. I want you to start by focusing on yourself. This Summer, learn to develop these 3 new habits that are all focused on taking care of yourself! When you do, you’ll be amazed at how much it helps your entire family.

  • 1. Take Care of Yourself. If you don’t care about yourself enough to take care of yourself emotionally, physically and spiritually, no one else will care about you.

    When you take care of yourself, your kids won’t feel like they have to take care of you. Sometimes well-meaning parents sacrifice their own mental health and needs. In doing so, you become needy. If you are so frazzled, frustrated and tired that your kids can “drive you crazy” or push your buttons, then they are in control. You end up “needing” your kids to behave, because if they make a bad choice, you can’t deal with it.

  • 2. Respect Your Time. If you don’t respect yourself enough to demonstrate that your time is as important as your children’s time and spouse’s time, no one will respect your time.

    When you set limits on your time with your family, they get the message that you are important. That will teach them to respect their own time, and to respect other people’s, as well.

  • 3. Ask For What You Want and Need. If you are not assertive about your needs, no one else will know what you need. If you don’t speak up, you are screaming to the world, “I don’t value myself. I am not important.” This only leads to resentment.

    When you feel resentful, or taken advantage of, it challenges your relationships. It prevents you from having the kind of intimacy or connection you want with your children or your spouse. When you ask for what you need, it teaches your children to advocate for themselves. It models self-respect.

This summer, I want you to commit to at least one new activity for yourself.
What is one activity you can begin doing regularly to care for yourself emotionally, physically or spiritually? What is one project you can begin, using your gifts and passions, to demonstrate that your time is important? What is one need you have that you are going to be assertive about? What are you going to stop doing?

Some examples of some commitments you might make:

  • I will read/walk the dog/exercise/pray/play the piano 20 minutes each day.
  • I will begin writing that book I’ve always wanted to write.
  • I will sign up for a class at the local college/ join book club.
  • I will let my husband know that when he closes his laptop when we are talking, it makes me feel valued and important.
  • I will stop trying to make everyone happy, stop trying to please everyone else and save the world.

Only you know what specifically makes you feel cared for, valued and important. Make this list. Put it where you can see it every day. Have the courage to start doing this, even if it makes you or others uncomfortable. People will respect you.

You need to change unhealthy patterns that began as a child, that continue to make you feel exhausted, resentful and lonely. Let this summer be the time you dig deep and say, “No more. This stops now!”

When you respect yourself, your needs and your time, your entire family benefits.

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