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  • The Best Way to Help Your Partner in Stressful Situations

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    The Best Way to Help Your Partner in Stressful Situations

    My wife Jessica and I are parents of two young daughters.

    As a result, things can sometimes be stressful.

    Recently, from my perspective, Jessica was being short and frustrated with our oldest daughter.

    What happened (from my view):

    Jessica was trying to fix her bike, but our daughter kept interrupting her. Eventually, our daughter got upset with her shortness and frustration that she left to throw a tantrum.

    As a result, I became upset too, and I said to Jessica (in not the nicest tone),

    “Can you be more patient with her?”

    As I write this, I realize I did the very thing to her that I was frustrated with – I was being impatient and frustrated about her being impatient…

    fixing bike

    So, I was fighting fire with fire… 🔥

    *Spoiler alert…

    I did not help the situation.

    As parents, if our partner is struggling in a stressful situation, judgement and criticalness is not what they need, and is not going to help the situation.

    We need to remember that we’re a team and to act accordingly.

    If our partner is frustrated, it’s not justification for us to be frustrated in return.

    One of my favorite quotes from Pia Mellody is:

    “There’s no traffic jams on the high road.”

    Being on the same team and taking the high road would be me taking a deep breath. Then asking with a collaborative stance if I can help.

    For example, “You seem a little frustrated, what can I do to help?”

    What is also great about this, is that our children learn what collaboration looks like. They learn what a healthy relationship looks like if we continue with this approach.

    They also learn that if one partner is “dysregulated” aka upset, the whole house doesn’t have be. Everything’s OK because the other partner is “regulated” aka not upset.

    Because in this situation (above) I took a deep breath then moved forward in the spirt of collaboration and being a teammate.

    The practice I’m illustrating here is simplistic but not simple.

    We need to continue to cultivate space from our reaction (initial triggering) and our response. In other words, we need to practice responding, not reacting.

    Do I do this all the time?

    No.

    It’s something I practice, and I will continue to do so because it’s in the best interest of my family and thus, my best interest.

    As parents, just think, how much smoother things would be and feel if we approach stressful situations with a deep breath and as a team.

    Want to see a situation like this?

    Watch Jess and I working through our problems! 😃

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