Create calmness in chaos

Tonya Mead, PhD, MBA, M.Ed, School Psychologist, CHFI, CFE

Updates as of May 17, 2020. Many say (not now on account of school closures due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Anyway, traditionally most learning has taken takes place in formal educational settings. However, Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory posits that most learning takes place in informal settings such as where we live, play and work. We learn acceptable societal behaviors by observing others through our relationships with others.

As we look to the new year, a continuation of state-wide lockdown orders, it is interesting to reflect upon the behaviors prevalent in society, giving rise to chaotic conditions:

  • New ! Global lockdowns, Coronavirus quarantines, and stay at home orders–> read my new article here (don’t forget to return here, there is excellent info)
  • Impeachment hearings
  • Educational fraud by celebrities and coaches
  • Trump Derangement Syndrome
  • Rampant brush fires in California
  • Mass gun violence

In particular, how might we reduce the harmful affects of chaos, calamity and confusion in our household? Maybe we should hope that our children will imitate and strive to emulate people they love (parents), admire (role models), or aspire to follow (idols and heroes). Bandura theorized that children (and adults as well):

  • observe
  • imitate
  • role model

By the way, if you need additional help managing your emotions while managing the needs of your family and work place, please consider reading and downloading my free e-booksCoping with Stress and/or Anger Management.

Now back to the article, as parents, educators and administrators, why would we want to do so? Chaos creates even more chaos. Also, a recent research study found that teens may become particularly distressed at the sound of maternal yelling and criticism. Additionally, a University of Pittsburgh study determined that yelling at a teen can have the same negative effects (higher risks of depression, aggression) as physical discipline. We can help create peace in our household for these reasons:

  • Inner peace makes us smarter. According to, “just eight weeks of regular meditation practice shows increased gray matter in MRI scans.”
  • Regular meditation, relaxation training and prayer trains and builds the brain muscles to resist old, destructive habits of worry and anxiety to ones of health and peace.
  • Inner peace helps us to feel and show more compassion; the antidote for chaos and calamity according to the journal Psychological Science.

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How do we role model inner peace and calmness in the chaos?

  • Take a deep breath, count to 10 before responding to toddler, adolescent or young adult rebelliousness
  • Smile often
  • Consider the humor in every situation
  • Understand that there are different perspectives underpinning differing viewpoints
  • Listen more, talk less- remember the acronym (WAIT- why am I talking?)
  • Be humble and show humility (Matthew 18:4)

By the way, if you are interested in learning more about the ways in which you can help your child practice mindfulness in turbulent times, or if you’d like to access resources to help your child learn in a homeschool setting, please visit my Amazon store. All of the products listed have been expertly curated by a School Psychologist.

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