The beginning of this week was a test
My ex and I had recently been discussing joint holidays due to the cub’s ages. Stories of child abductions etc. are enough to make any parent shiver so we decided (for the time being anyway) that we would plan a trip together.
Nothing major, just a camping trip in the New Forest. My daughter’s love of wildlife would be satiated and my son would be in a new environment, great for his development.
What I didn’t want to do was ruin the experience by relentless arguing.
Whilst our relationship was deteriorating we’d successfully managed not to argue in front of the kids. I wasn’t about to foul this now whilst on a break so I went about adjusting my behavioural confirmation biases through a process of autosuggestion.
I believe in quite a few things. I was raised as a Christian, fell out with the premise but have recently fallen in again. I believe in the law of attraction, in that what you think about most you will manifest. I also believe that with practice, you can control your environment by altering your perception to whatever the heck is in front of you.
I’d be lying if I said it was easy but the application of counter scripts to the behaviours that you know you will witness work wonders when they do indeed arise. This made responding to them, or not, slightly less stressful. After all, what better way to put all those years together to good use than by counter-scripting every single element of their behaviour that caused frustration.
All for a good cause
She arrived. We loaded the already packed car and set off. I promptly went to sleep. Tactic one completed.
I woke up for a snack break then we set off again; I went to sleep again.
We arrived. It was a lovely site if a little water logged so we looked for a suitable pitch. Found one, in a clearing under light canopy; perfect.
Tent pitched; no dramas
Sleeping quarters sorted; no dramas.
Cubs running relatively free in a beautiful forest and staring in amazement at wild cows and horses.
Proper planning prevents poor performance
Success! 3 days passed and we remained civil throughout. More importantly the cubs loved it. My daughter, ever the adventurer discovered a total of 4 frogs, 2 newts, an extremely tame Robin and a Treecreeper. She missed the Tawny Owl, whose mid-night screech went right to my very D.N.A and had me wide eyed and staring for quite a while.
There was one fall from grace; a heated sentence or two regarding dirty clothes but this was quickly quashed. It was probably more to do with 3 nights on a hard forest floor whilst my camping mat remained safe and warm in the garage, than our normal head butting.
So that’s the key; prepare yourself mentally and you can get the outcome you require. I’m sure it was equally as testing for her as I’m no saint. It also helped that it was a short period of time or I’m sure we’d both have got more snappy.
Autosuggestion wins the day. And sleep.