Are You Struggling with Parenting?
Being a parent is way more difficult than I have ever thought it would. Before kids I had all these grand ideas about how I wanted my kids to act and what I wanted our family life to look like. Fast forward to life with a wonderful husband (who has his own ideas about parenting) and two children (who each think they are the center of the universe); I have learned a lot. Several have carried me through the past five years of being a parent.
1.The most important thing about parenting is to keep your kids alive. Feed them. Cloth them. Love them.
2. If in doubt, call mom. Or your spouse. Or a friend. While I don't agree with all of my parents' parenting decisions, they at least kept me alive (see number 1). Plus, a second opinion or someone to vent to always helps.
3.Ask yourself "How Important Is This?" (See number 1) Is what they are doing going to harm them physically? If not, ask yourself if it is going to negatively influence their overall character or values that you want them or your family to have? On a scale of one to ten, how important is this character or value? Some things are not worth the effort they require to enforce/teach. Other things may be important to you. I had my second child shortly before moving overseas to a country that was very opinionated and had completely different ideas about about how children should be raised. I learned very quickly that I needed to figure out what my firm values were going to be and to enforce them in spite of what others thought about me. I'm so thankful for that time because it forced to me think about what was important to me as a parent and how I was going to go about teaching and guiding my children in a world that may not always communicate my same values.
3. Get on the same page as your spouse. (See number 2) Children learn very quickly how to Divide and Conquer. Be a strong front against them alongside your spouse. Have weekly meetings with your spouse about parenting issues and new "trials" that inevitably come up. Your spouse may be dealing with the latest anecdotes with grace while you are drowning or vis a versa.
4. Makes friends with parents of children you wish your children acted like, then ask for advice and how they parented. While my parents kept me alive, I still disagreed with some of their parenting tactics so while I had all of these Great Ideals, I had no idea how to get my kids there. I needed help. I learned a lot in school and from my psychology classes but toddlers are formidable foes.
5. Be Consistent. Even when you are tired. Or at least tell them that it is a special occasion and it will never happen again.
6. Read Parenting books. There is a lot of good information out there.
Parenting With Love And Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay
Easy To Love, Difficult To Discipline
How To Not Hate Your Husband After Kids - Jancee Dunn
Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Drunkerman
Positive Parenting by Rebecca Eanes
The Attachment Parenting Book by William and Martha Sears
The Whole-Brained Child By Daniel J. Siegel