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The Power of Humor
by Corrine Bucher

Chance, my five-year old daughter, has become defiant. I'm aware that this is a normal stage of her development and that she's testing her level of control, but that knowledge doesn't keep me from reacting emotionally to her constant challenging of my authority. In the moment, she needs to get dressed and in the car to get to school on time; I can't hear myself saying, "She's in the defiant stage," to her teacher in explaining why we're late. That Chance is, by nature, a truly kind-hearted little girl makes it all the more frustrating. It is times like these that make parenting feel like running a marathon without having trained for it.

Threatening various forms of punishment -- a time-out to taking away her beloved pink bunny -- only causes her to resist more, leaving us both on the verge of tears. Finally, I step back and consider the big picture: She is a five-year-old experimenting with her social skills. This isn't a personal attack on me. She's not questioning my fitness as a mother. She's just being a five-year-old. This realization allows me to relax. I tell her, in a loving, teasing voice that I don't believe she's really upset. The look in her eye tells me she recognizes this truth. We're both smiling now. A tickle fight ensues and we both end up laughing on the floor.

Now humor will not always work. There never will be one simple solution to the challenges of being a parent. But by stepping back and disengaging from a battle of wills, I was able to actually draw closer to my daughter, connect with her and, ultimately, achieve what we both wanted: understanding.

Taking this a step further, I invite you to look at how you treat yourself. Are you frustrated or angry with yourself? Is that frustration or anger only compounding your tension and making it harder to resolve the issue at hand? I typically find that whatever attitude I take toward my children is a reflection of how I'm treating myself. When I accept myself for who and where I am and not who or where I want to be, I function far more efficiently -- and serenely.

About the Author

Corrine Bucher is a veteran coach and mother devoted to transforming the lives of both working and stay-at-home mothers. Her Workshops for Working Mothers, originally developed for a Fortune 500 Company, challenge and inspire women to define their work/life balance vision so they may begin to feel a sense of control again. Learn more and sign up for her online newsletter, Embracing Motherhood, at http://corrinebucher.com.

Please note: You may reprint this article; however, it must be used in its entirety and not be edited or changed in any way. It must also include the author's byline and "About the Author" section at the bottom, with an active link back to this web site. Failure to comply with these instructions is considered an infringement of copyright law. © 2008 Corrine Bucher. All rights reserved.

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