Parenting is NOT always Easy: Maybe this will help!
Sooo no one teaches you how to be a parent, there is no class in school that says "this is how you do it!", it is up to each one of us to navigate the road to produce happy, and well mannered kids. So you do it, you go day by day, you reach out to support if you need it, probably from your parents, or friends. You do you best to navigate the road of crying, sleepless nights, juggling your time.
I actually found the baby stage with my first born fairly easy, I know some people might think I am crazy, some might totally agree! There was definitely tough times, but my real challenge came this last year: I had a newborn and a 2 year old. There was one day particularly that shifted my perspective to realize the way I was doing it wasn't the best way anymore and I got a new perspective on how to do things differently.
I hope that some of my lessons can help you to navigate the parenting journey!
We were over at my sister's and Jase was testing boundaries, I was toting around Emery (my baby) and he kept running into us, barking demands, and being angry with me. I just kept moving away from him. My dad was also there and stopped me. He said, "Why did you just move away?" I said, "Because he was frustrating me!" (Couldn't he see that?). Then he said, "You realize by you moving away you just showed him that he is the boss?"
Me: "Say WHAT!?!?". This hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized he was 100% right, he was testing the boundaries with me and I was letting him walk all over me. I knew right then and there that this was not how I wanted to do things. My dad gave me some great pointers and a book to read on parenting, amazing dad right?!
This book is actually a collection of three books and so far I have just gotten into the first one but have discovered some crazy useful tips that have really assisted me in the last 4 months with my toddler. So here they are, for any of you momma's out there feeling like there has to be a better way, hope these help you like they did me. (The book is below, if you want to purchase there is a link to Amazon!).
1. Setting the RULES:
A toddler (from the age of 18 months to 3 years) is learning boundaries. They are exploring the world and everything is new and exciting. The world can also be a big place, and kids want structure. As parents we need to get clear with what we expect and convey that to our kids. You and your partner MUST be on the same page!!
It is useful to be learning alongside your partner. Do you best to talk about the things that are deal breakers, or things you wont compromise on, eg. hitting, biting, spitting. Anything with the intent to harm is a big NO NO.
2. Consistent Consequences:
There has to be consequences that are consistent with your word. I had a very tough time thinking of discipline. What is "acceptable" with today's standards? When do you do it? How do you do it? Is there physical consequences or is it just time outs?
So many questions... I have tried lots of ways, somedays some stuff works better than others. This seems to work best for me.
Jase will often lose his temper when he is not getting what he wants and I am not paying attention (lets face it, he wants my attention pretty much every waking hour). This sort of situation leads to both of us getting frustrated. In the past I would just snap and yell or something that was totally UNEFFECTIVE!
So now, I stop and take a breath! I look at him and ask him, "What would you like?" or tell him directly what I want from him. If he doesn't respond or snap out of his bad behaviour I take it to the next level. I give him a consequence. The book here says to give a direct command the first time and if they don't listen to put pressure on the shoulder, its uncomfortable but does not inflict pain. (Do what is comfortable to you, I just know that sometimes Jase needs something to get him to snap out of it). The first time I did it he was surprised, now just the mention of it he stops and listens! It really did work like magic.
Another thing here, don't ask, "Do you want a time out?" that gives them the power. I didn't even realize I was doing this till my dad pointed it out. Say, "If you don't do this... You will get a time out!"
I big thing to remember is to stay CALM!! If you do this when you are frustrated it wont work. You need to get clear first. Our intent should be to correct and set boundaries not to punish and hurt out of frustration.
3. LOVE and RESPECT:
At the end of the day we all want love and respect, so do our kids. How they learn best is by observing your behaviour. Jase will do something and I will think, where the heck did he learn that? But he learned it from me, I had just become so unaware of my own activity.
So if you model love and respect so will your children. A little story...
My dog often frustrates me, he wines a lot and has high anxiety. For this reason I have kinda stopped paying attention to him (gahh so bad). Well I noticed Jase started being really snappy with the dog, I kept telling him not to. I realized he was modelling my behaviour!! Now that I am aware that I do this I have made the steps toward correcting it. I am very intentional about petting our dog (Moe), and showing him lots of love, and guess what, my kids are now doing the same.
Give love = more love in return!
4. Open Communication:
Encourage your kids to speak to you, to tell you whats wrong. If they openly defy you then there needs to be action, but for the most part they just want your attention. Also emotion is a GOOD thing. If you child cries and kicks and screams and yells guess what? They are letting out their emotions. Something I think a lot of us adults have forgotten about.
A friend once said to me, "They are not giving you a hard time, they are just having a hard time". Don't take it personally, our kids aren't trying to piss us off or get us angry.
5. Be Gentle
Be gentle on yourself!! This is a learning experience, it will not be perfect the first time. It will take practice and dedication to get the sense that you are making progress. But if you choose to learn, to take steps to be a better parent, you are already on the right track. Acknowledge yourself for what you have accomplished and what you have learned up to this point.
Those are my biggest tips so far. I am constantly learning and finding new books to assist me in growth in the parenting department. I have recently got a new book from a local author and will be featuring it in an upcoming blog post on how as a busy mom you can still have joy and balance! Stay tuned.
Thank you as always for taking the time out of your lives to read this post. I love and appreciate you all and am grateful to have this outlet to share my journey with you all.
If you would like to subscribe please do so below! I would love to hear your comments and feedback, maybe you have a great parenting book that assisted you, or a tip you could share that would help someone else!