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This parenting this is NOT what I expected....


“The truth is, parenting as well as we can is always hard – really, truly, the hardest thing any of us has ever done.” - Laura Markham

 

Being a parent is beyond difficult.  Along with the day to day challenges of morning routines, sibling rivalry, picky eating, and meltdowns, there are the struggles with bigger questions like “am I doing enough to prepare my kids for future challenges?” and “what is most important for my kids to learn?” Parenting today has become even more challenging due to mental health issues that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the lack of support systems available for families and children.  In fact,  In the wake of the pandemic , mental health concerns top the list of parental worries, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. (Pew Research.org


Social media has added to the pressures parents feel.  It’s hard not to compare your family to those on social media platforms who seem to have it all together.  Parents are also bombarded with messages that make it seem there isasingular parenting approach that guarantees positive outcomes, and then parents feel guilty when they can’t put that approach into action.  

So what’s a person to do when this parenting job seems impossible?  Relationship experts and parent coaches identify several areas of exploration that can bring relief to struggling parents. 

 

  1. Explore your own default patterns and reactions, and what you want to change. 

Ask yourself: 

  • What situations are tricky right now with my kids? - Build awareness around those issues, routines, or challenges that seem to be stuck in a negative loop

  • How do I normally react? - Identify your typical reactions when you are stressed.  Does your voice get louder?  Does your body communicate tension and frustration?  

  • How do I want to respond in these situations? - Identify your intentions for parenting in challenging situations.  What kind of parent do you wish to be in these situations?  What do you want your kids to learn? 

 

Becoming aware of our own default patterns is the first step in being able to shift patterns of negativity and ultimately, shift our children’s behaviors.   Once you see it, you don’t have to be it!

 

  1. Explore and become grounded in your family’s values

Ask yourself: 

  • What is most important in our family?  How do we want to treat each other?  What do we want for our kids as they become adults? 

  • Make a list of values and use them in conversation with your kids 

“Remember in this family we treat each other with kindness.” 

  • Use these values as you make big decisions and set boundaries 

“We value connection so we eat dinner together three times a week.” 

 

Becoming clear on your values and speaking them out loud creates a sense of security for you and your children. 

 

  1. Explore regulation strategies for the adults as well as the children in your home 

Ask yourself: 

  • What are some triggers that leave me feeling dysregulated, stressed or on-edge? 

  • What are some social/mental/physical strategies that help me feel calm? 

  • What strategies can I build into my day to create an overall sense of calm?  What are strategies I can use in those moments of challenge?  

 

When we can model caring for our own sensory and emotional needs, we are helping our children learn that it is ok to have feelings, as well as  healthy ways of coping.  


So on those days that seem impossible, when you are literally feeling at the end of your rope, remember there are strategies that can help.  Default patterns, values, and regulation are just three of the many areas of exploration that can make this parenting thing a little easier.  


 

Are you ready to take action?  Exploring topics such as these, on your own or with a parent coach, has proven to be beneficial for countless families.  Click here to start exploring Thriving Parents Collective and create a path towards more peaceful parenting.  

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