POSITIVE DISCIPLINE FOR TODAY’S BUSY (AND OVERWHELMED) PARENT is a user-friendly guide that gives parents the tools they need to parent effectively without sacrificing their well-being or giving up on their life goals.
I’m holding my hands up right now and saying that parenting has been a whole lot harder than I ever imagined it would be. That’s not to say that I would change it for the world, my children are my everything and I love them all dearly but I definitely had rose-tinted spectacles on when I dreamt up my ‘three is the magic number’ way before I even met Simon.
Since becoming a Mum I have seen a definite reduction in my patience and find that my snapping point happens a lot sooner these days. It’s not something that I am proud of and it has really got me down on many occasions. Things generally start off well and then I call ‘tea’s ready’ then it begins. One moans that their tea is too hot, too cold. there’s too much, it’s not what they want and ‘do I have to eat it?’ . . . no of course not darling, I always buy food and cook it just so I can throw it in the bin. The backchatting starts, the playing with anything and everything that I have told them not to bring to the table starts and with each little thing I can feel my blood pressure rising. It takes a lot for me to shout at the children but when I do, I generally blow my top and then berate myself afterwards for being a terrible Mum. Sound familiar?
Dealing with Overwhelm
Add to this the fact that I work for myself, from home and have done since the children were born can at times increase the pressure. I only work when the children are at school or sleeping but that doesn’t mean my mind isn’t often whirring with what I need to do the next time I am at my desk. The thing is, I will always be a Mum first and foremost, but I am proud of the business that I have carved out for myself so I want to make sure it’s a success. Getting the balance isn’t always easy and like anyone, I don’t always get things right.
I have been reading Positive Discipline for Today’s Busy (& Overwhelmed) Parent for the last month or so whenever I have been able to find the time to sit quietly and even though I have only fully read the first ten chapters (out of 17) I am loving the book and already have been able to implement aspects of it into my parenting style.
Connection before correction
The first piece of advice which hit a nerve with me was where the book discussed ‘respect’. One of my key phrases, when the children backchat me or are rude to me, is “don’t you talk to me that way” or “you should show me some respect” which in itself, is disrespectful. In other words, I am modelling the exact behaviour that I am unhappy with from them. The book suggests that as a parent we need to make a connection with the child before correcting them. With Lillie, I have now been saying “I understand that you are frustrated that you can’t eat your tea in your bedroom but in this house, we eat together and if you finish your tea, you can watch some more of your program”. By making the observation that I can see she is upset, I have connected with her so she feels understood. When speaking to her this way, she calms down immediately and we are able to have a sensible discussion rather than a shouting match.
Dealing with guilt
All parents feel guilty at some point or another. I have even questioned whether their behaviour is because I am a stay at home Mum. Often for me, it’s on the very rare occasion that I have collected the children from school and had to finish some work for half an hour when we get home. My mind can be racing with the work I need to finish and I instantly feel bad that I am not mentally ‘there’ for the children, I start to get on with my work and then I hear “Muuuuuum” so I stay patient and deal with their needs, only to hear “Muuuuuum” 10 minutes later. This time, I respond with “WHAT?” and I know that I shouldn’t so I get cross with myself and the vicious cycle begins.
The thing is, I want my children to see that my work is important too and that the things that we receive to review through the blog are not “free”. They are provided because I have to work to test them, to photograph them, research them and write about them. Slowly they are starting to understand but I realised that in order for the children to respect ‘my time’ I too need to respect it. When we get home from school now, Lillie or Ollie will make me a cup of tea whilst I get snacks for the three of them and then I tell them that I am either (a) working for half an hour, (b) reading for half an hour or (c) putting my feet up and watching TV for half an hour. During this time, they all go to their rooms and play or watch TV. I have found this time is a great way for us all to decompress from our busy days. We then come together in a generally better mood, ready to interact and be respectful to each other.
Our journey continues
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I still have a way to go before I have finished the book completely but I’m hoping to find some time over Christmas. The examples above are just two of the many things that I have changed since I opened the front cover. I know that more changes will happen as I keep reading but so far I am happy with the way that things are progressing. Sure there are the odd days when things blow up, tonight being one of those times. The difference is that, particularly so with Lillie and I, we are both beginning to recognise when we have slipped up and so we are resolving things quicker and talking about where we went wrong. I am finally starting to feel more confident in my abilities and I think that with time, and a little more self-care, I will find I am becoming more of the parent that I hoped I would be.
POSITIVE DISCIPLINE FOR TODAY’S BUSY (AND OVERWHELMED) PARENT: How to Balance Work, Parenting, and Self for Lasting Well-Being
by Jane Nelsen Ed.D., Kristina Bill, & Joy Marchese
September 11, 2018
$17.00 Trade Paperback Original