As parents, there are new challenges daily. Now is the time to pull up your boots (as they say in Texas) and learn the lessons that will make your home a more peaceful place.
Don’t be overwhelmed by not knowing how to get your child through every stage of life. Take it one day at a time. You can continue to learn as your child grows. And don’t listen to your friends who try to alarm you that it only gets harder the older your children get. Your family is like no other and your challenges will be unique.
If you are flexible, you will not break. If you are rigid, life will break you down. Is your child’s whining enough to send you over the edge? What is a mom or dad to do?
Be teachable and flexible. Take a deep breathe. You are the parent, go back in there and learn to swallow your pride and grow. The parenting years are filled with challenges.
Take one step at a time.
Here are 5 tips to not only survive, but to thrive.
Perfection is not the goal, growing is!
#1 Learn to Acknowledge your Weaknesses. Don’t just admit you are weak; work on changing your ways. Growing is the goal of parenting, not perfection. If you are willing to work on your weaknesses, your home will be a healthy home. Your children will see that you are trying to do better. Your example will help them have the courage to work on their own weaknesses.
If you are willing to work on your weaknesses, your home will be a healthy home.
#2 Learn to Stop and Take a Deep Breath. “Stop in the midst of frustration, and find a way to respond in a calm manner. If you have older children, I would recommend a trip to the bathroom to collect your thoughts and take a deep breathe. It’s best if you don’t indicate that you are irritated. A simple “I need to go to the bathroom, ” is all you need to say.
With little ones, parents have to be a bit more creative. Have a plan. If a certain part of your day is more typically more difficult, change your routine.
For me, my youngest (age 5) would have a melt down every day after lunch. Instead of him doing his kitchen job, I sent him to his room for some alone time. Then he was able to come back later and complete his job.
Think of something to say to yourself to relieve your negative feelings, find a way to laugh or change the mood. Sometimes getting out of the midst of a battle is enough to recharge and think rationally.
One more secret that has helped me is to expect the kids to go bonkers. Many times it won’t be as bad as the worst possibled and then see how fast you can all recover. Its amazing how our expectations effect our reactions.
#3 Learn to Pray. How do we handle our troubles? Sadly, many parents do not have one trusted person with whom they can be completely honest. But I know the God that created me and my children knows my human frailty. And when I am weak, he is strong. God’s presence brings peace. Praying can be as simple as, “God, Please Help Me.” He will! Even if you are new to praying…God knows if your heart is genuine. Many times I have failed. My kids and I take turns falling apart. We need help! I help my children to recognize their need to pray. Whenever I feel that the tide is turning and we are going to crash, I stop everything and pray. The focus on God actually helps calm everyone. It is evident that in and of ourselves we are in need of help. How wonderful that our Creator is available and more than willing to bring us peace in our homes.
#4 Learn to Ask for Forgiveness. My kids know that I don’t have it all together. I don’t pretend. I try to be quick to apologize. How you apologize matters. Many of us were not taught how to take responsibility for our wrong doing. Simply saying, “I’m sorry if I hurt you.” does not help the person forgive you. Instead, I suggest asking forgiveness this way: “Mommy was wrong. Will you please forgive me for getting angry and shouting?” Then follow up the apology by verbalizing that you will work on being more patient or kind. If you see your child’s heart hardening towards you, look for an opportunity to ask for forgiveness.
#5 Learn to Listen First Before Reacting. Have you ever jumped to the wrong conclusion before getting all of the facts? Yep! Me too. Many times the culprit looks innocent until you ask questions. Sometimes it is worth the time and effort to investigate, but you can’t solve every case. My suggestion for this one is to be calm, cool and collected. Easier said than done.
I noticed that I was overreacting often with my oldest. We competed to see who could overreact the least. It helped us be more aware of our responses…and we would review the score at the end of the day. Now we both have better reactions.
What a hopeful message that we, the parent, can form a more perfect union…by being an example to our children. Having self control to respond wisely is not easy, but the rewards are rich. When you hear and see your child emulate any of these wise responses to difficult situations, you will be glad you made the effort to show them the way!