Posted by: coachingparents | October 1, 2008

4 Powerful Words Every Parent Should Know

by Dr. Riordan

I have been listening to Eckhart Tolle’s book, The New Earth, on cd in my car. This is an amazing book that reminds you to stop, breathe and be present. It includes some great information about parenting but something he said struck me deeply as a parent and reminded me of the 4 words every parent needs to know: This too shall pass!

In Chapter 8, Tolle shares the following story:

According to an ancient Sufi story, there lived a king in some Middle Eastern land who was continuously torn between happiness and despondency…A time came when the king finally got tired of himself and of life, an he began to seek a way out. He sent for a wise man who lived in his kingdom and was reputed to be enlightened. When the wise man came, the king said to him, “I want to be like you. Can you give me something that will bring balance, serenity and wisdom into my life? I will pay any price you ask.”

To paraphrase the end of the story, the wise man gives the king a ring and inscribed inside the ring is the inscription “This too shall pass.” When the king asks, “What is the meaning of this?” The wise man said “Wear this ring always. Whatever happens, before you call it good or bad, touch this ring and read the inscription. That way, you will always be at peace.”

This too, shall pass. When I was pregnant with my son, my cousin Vicki shared that same advice with me and I have shared it with countless other parents. I guarantee that if you keep these 4 powerful words in the back of your mind, you will be a better parent. When your two year old suddenly stops sleeping through the night because of some disruption in her routine; when the stomach flu hits your house and you are exhausted from cleaning up and doing laundry; when your children are fighting in the back seat, again… remember that this too shall pass.

Vicki always told me that for small children it took about 3 days to start a new habit or cement a new routine and she was right. I remember trying to get my daughter to sleep in her big girl bed. My son took to it like a duck to water, never got out and loved to sleep. My daughter at age 6 still doesn’t like to go to bed. It took a few more days than 3 to convince her to stay in her own bed but I did remember Vicki’s advice and with time, everything worked out perfectly. I am not a night owl and I often found it difficult to stay with my daughter, to breathe and be peaceful with her. Of course, the more agitated and tired I was, the more difficult she was. Funny how that works. We have finally agreed upon an elaborate routine of kisses and hugs that makes her feel loved and safe so she can disconnect and go to sleep.

Now that both my kids are older, I still find myself having to take a deep breath and remember that “This too, shall pass” when my children are arguing over who gets to use the computer or possession of a toy or what show to watch on t.v. For whatever reason, I find their arguing intolerable and find myself wanting to scream back at them. Sometimes I slip up and do yell. I apologize to them immediately and start again, take a deep breath and help them negotiate the challenges of sibling relationships. Motherhood is our biggest challenge and greatest joy and all of our emotions are tied up in the relationships we have with our children. It can be very challenging to separate ourselves from the moment. It is okay to take a time out for yourself, take a deep breath, or two or three and start again. Our children learn that everyone gets upset and they will learn to calm themselves by modeling you.

So take Tolle’s advice, when you stop and breathe, and remind yourself that this too, shall pass, you will find “Suddenly there is space around the emotional highs and lows, even around pain. And above all, there is space between your thoughts. And from that space emanates…peace.”   I don’t know about you but peace is what I wish for in my own home and in the world around me.

Minette Riordan, Ph.D., CCP is the founder and publisher of North Texas Kids, a magazine for parents in the Dallas metroplex. She is also a certified parent coach, speaker and writer. An expert in family communication, she is passionate about helping parents to enrich their relationships with their children by learning to communicate and connect more effectively. Minette is always interested in speaking & training opportunities: if your group is interested in hearing a dynamic speaker or participating in a parenting seminar, please email her at

Minette Riordan, Ph.D.
North Texas Kids


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