The Oxygen Mask Rule

by Scott Noelle

Flight attendants always remind parents that if the airplane cabin loses pressure, you should apply your oxygen mask first, and then your child’s. This is because a parent without oxygen is likely to pass out before getting the child’s mask in place.

Likewise, if you were stressed about some problem with your child, the conventional response would be to focus on “fixing” the child. But stressful states like fear, worry, anger, and resentment are like oxygen deprivation: they undermine your capacity to help your child.

So remember to get your oxygen first, literally, by taking a deep breath and feeling for your Center. Once you’re centered — present, connected, “in the flow” — you’ll be more creative, and you’ll emanate a “vibe” that your child will want to align with.

Whenever parenting becomes stressful, stop and tell yourself, “I want to respond from my Heart, so I will take no action until I find my Center.”

Originally published on 2006-12-15
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