My heart goes out to parents of young children navigating the pandemic.
Getting through an incredibly stressful period draws on every ounce of strength. It reminds me of a stage in my life many years ago;
I’d had a toddler and had just endured 9 months of a baby with colic and reflux who screamed most of the day and night.
Once afternoon I lay on the floor and I begged my toddler to let me shut my eyes just for 5 minutes.
If only I could get five minutes sleep then maybe I would be able to recharge my batteries that had been flat for so long. I’m sure you know that feeling.
Less than 3 minutes had gone past before I heard a terrible crash. My toddler had tried to climb onto the table by tugging the table cloth which pulled off the water jug and it smashed all over the floor. That woke the baby who had finally gone to sleep in his pram.
A broken jug isn’t the end of the world but I screamed at Nico
‘What an earth are you doing?’
Some kids cry when...
Way back in 1999 when I first got help with for parenting my unruly toddler, the coach asked ‘Does your son know who is in charge?’. My husband and I laughed ‘Er, no, he runs rings around us.’. He used to shout things like ‘I’m the boss’ when we went to switch off the TV or tried to get him to do something he didn’t want to do.
Want to know why this isn’t a good idea?
Children get their security from boundaries and predictability. They need us to steer the ship.
So how can we do that without turning into a sergeant major? Like us back then, maybe you are afraid of being too authoritarian so you swing the pendulum to being too lenient?
Here are my 10 top tips for feeling more in charge:
My eldest son is almost 23.
He’s 6”1’ and as kind and gentle a son as I could wish for.
You should see him with animals. He’s so sweet and caring with them.
This feels like long way from back when he was little.
One Saturday morning still stays in my mind.
We were off on a family trip to the farmers market.
His baby brother Felix was sitting on the mat with a rattle while Paul and I ran around gathering all the bits you need to go out - you know the score;
Nico had been antsy all week.
Nothing was quite right and he seemed to be over-reacting to everything.
He told me he hated my food, he refused to put his shoes on to leave the house, he shouted loudly in my face ‘Go AWAY’ when I wanted him to get dressed.
I had an argument going on in my head about how to deal with him.
-"You can’t let a child get away with it. Show who is boss and put a stop to this nonsense"
- Vs "Bad...
As parents we so often complain about this don't we? We feel that children have so much and they just don't appreciate it. There is a lot of evidence to say that the more they have, the less appreciative they are. This is especially hard at this time of year when all the messages around children are about what they can ‘get’ for Christmas more than what they can give. We all love to see the joy on their faces as they open presents but be aware how often the excitement is short-lived and the toys get broken or cast aside.
Interesting from Lawrence Kutner, psychologist who says
'Many commercials show a child playing with a game or toy with her parents. The message is clear to young children: Ask for this product and your mother and father will pay attention to you. It is an offer they cannot resist."
So what are 7 ways we can help children be more appreciative of what they have got?
Go through their toys and see if there are some things that can be fixed...
DO THEY RUN OFF WHEN YOU SAY 'TIDY UP TIME'?
Do they shout 'I'm busy' when you ask for something to be tided? Then you think - "Why get into an argument for ten minutes when it is so much quicker to do it myself?". This is the 'quick-fix' parenting that we all slip into. I'm by no means perfect in this domain but I do know that holding firm, biting your tongue when the job isn't done perfectly and teaching children how to do things really does pay off.
Tidying up is often a real sticking point with children so here are a few ways to get children to tidy up:
Firstly we are rarely going to get anywhere by saying 'Go and tidy your room' - it is just too overwhelming for children so it is much better to break it down. Go to their room or their play area and assess what has to be done.
Albert Einstein said ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result’
Being a parent of young children does often drive you insane!
Before I went to a parenting class back in 1999, I would do the same thing over and over again with my toddler.
Let me set the scene:
‘Get your shoes on’,
‘I told you to get your shoes on’,
‘If you don’t get your shoes on then you can’t watch TV later’,
‘Right that’s it, no TV for a month’
Ah oh, now I’ve shot myself in the foot because the TV is a brilliant babysitter and with a toddler and a baby, I NEED some time for myself. Now what do I do?
Then I don’t stick to the threat because it was a ridiculous threat that was said in desperation.
Desperation to get my child to do what I asked straight away.
I don’t know about you, but the most annoying thing in the world is trying to get a child to do...
If you have a challenging child, I hope the list below helps. They can be so amazing and yet so totally exasperating. They leave us feeling like we are doing such a bad job as a parent. We shed tears over them. We feel incompetent, ashamed, resentful, humiliated and lonely. We compare them unfavourably to other 'perfect' children which makes them feel worse about themselves and us feel worse about our parenting.
SO here are a few ways to navigate those stormy waters.
Does it drive you mad when you witness your children quarrelling or squabbling?
Have you been finding that your children are squabbling a lot over the Christmas break? It can be incredibly frustrating to witness our children quarrelling or being horrible to each other. You might have a toddler and a baby and are finding that the toddler is snatching the baby’s toys away or leaning on them just that bit too heavily which are both signs of sibling jealousy.
Other things you might see with older children are subtle or not so subtle put-downs – ‘You are a baby, I’m bigger, stronger, taller than you, you are stupid, dumb, you can’t play with me..’. You might find they race to beat one another and the older one usually wins. They race to sit in a certain car seat, up the stairs, one wants to get in the bath first or out of it. They compete for your love and attention – ‘I’m sitting on daddy’s lap, mummy is playing...
We are so programmed to think that when kids have done something wrong, they need a good telling off to make sure they don’t do it again.
Do you frequently find that even when you tell them off they repeat the same behaviour over and over again?
It is so common to think that if we don’t scold them then we aren’t doing our jobs as parents.
‘How will they ever learn?’ I get asked all the time or
‘I can’t let them get away with bad behaviour’
‘Surely I need to clamp down on bad behaviour?’
We definitely don’t want to disregard or turn a blind eye to behaviour isn’t acceptable but there are so many great ways that you can address it so that you keep a strong relationship with your child and get the behaviour you want to see.
So lets take a look at the kinds of things kids get up to:
Children will frequently:
Do you know the question I get asked the most:
'How can I stop my child being rude or demanding?'
Isn't this the most frustrating thing? Who wants to raise a little tyrant?
When they are rude it presses our buttons so much doesn't it?
We feel incompetent, like we've done a really bad job as a parent and we so often wind up shouting back something like 'How dare you be so rude to me?'
Does that work to change the behaviour?
Never has for me!
Want to know what really helps?...