I often think about my parenting successes and failures at the end of a long day. Was I calm? Was I patient? Did I yell or lose my temper? There a lot of nights where I hang my head in shame, not at all proud of how I behaved. I’ll check in on my boys before heading to bed and silently promise to do better tomorrow. Every day is a new day, right? It’s hard to move forward when you are stuck in a parenting guilt trap, but it is possible!
When you find yourself unhappy over and over and over again about the way you have been parenting, it’s ok to admit that you need help. It’s ok to admit that you don’t have it all figured out! They don’t hand out instruction manuals when they send you home with a baby from the hospital. Wouldn’t it be easier if they did? “Birth Through Teenagers: The All Knowing, It Works Every Time, Handbook To Parenting”. That kind of a book could be a real money maker, right?! Sometimes, we need a parenting do-over. We need to set aside what is obviously not working. We need to try something new. Today, I encourage you to re-evaluate your parenting strategies. Step out of the fear and guilt, and make a better plan for you and your family!
First of all, I think it’s important to remember that nothing is 100% in parenting. What works for one family, might not work for another. So keep an open mind and try to make things flexible to work for you and your family. Read parenting blogs, read books, talk to other parents about what works for them. Take your time! Think long and hard about what kind of parent you want to be. Talk about it with your partner. If you are a single parent, talk things over with a close friend or family member who you rely on. If you have no one, seek family counseling. Don’t try to do it alone!
Most of the time, kids’ behavior will get worse before it gets better when you decide to change the rules on them. They will make it harder on you so you will go back to the “easy” way of parenting, you know, giving in. It is so much less work for them to have you yell at them and then it’s over with. When you decide to give the problem back to them and expect them to be a part of the solution…when you put your foot down and show them, enough is enough, they will respond! So stick with it! Even when you feel like “this isn’t worth it, things are getting worse!” It probably means that you are doing everything right! Kids test boundaries. OH BOY. Do kids test boundaries! Don’t get down on yourself when you mess up. Start over and stick with it! Every day is a new day!
Parenting is the hardest job on the planet. Remember that you are not alone. There are plenty of parents out there feeling the same as you. We are on facebook, we are on twitter, we are writing blogs. We are your neighbors and friends. Reach out and ask for help. Or just to complain. We are listening and we have a little venting to do ourselves.