It’s hard being a parent sometimes.
Apart from the sleepless nights, and the endless laundry, it can be especially hard to make decisions about how to best guide our children.
What should I do in this situation?
How should I react when this happens?
Is this the right approach to the problem?
How can I stop them making these mistakes again?
Should there be consequences? A discussion? Punishment?
And the hardest part?
All of these questions are swirling around your head while you are also wrangling a screaming child, or dealing with constant eye rolling. You are trying to figure out the answers when you are already stressed out, and overwhelmed, and you need to make a decision now! How are you going to react to this particular situation???
See, I told you parenting was hard!
I don’t know the answers to all those questions.
I often have no clue how to make a well thought out, good decision in these moments.
Usually I can’t even control my emotions enough to make any kind of calm and rational decisions when I am in the thick of things.
But I do know one thing.
And if I can just remember that one thing in those tough, stressed out, losing my mind moments, it will help make make a decision I feel good about.
What’s the one thing I need to remember to make good parenting decisions?
If I can just remember to ask myself ‘what does doing this teach my children’ then I will be able to make better parenting decisions.
What does it teach them?
What does yelling and screaming and loosing my mind teach them?
That it is ok to speak rudely and yell at someone when you are angry and frustrated or when you disagree?
What does shaming them or making them feel bad about themselves teach teach them?
That making a mistakes means I am a bad person?
What does removing screen time, or other privileges teach them?
That those things are somehow better than anything else? That my parents are judge jury and executioner? That I can’t, or don’t need to learn self control with these things?
What does punishing teach them?
That adults are the boss of them? That they better not get caught next time?
What does talking things through calmly teach them?
That you can manage conflict in a calm and respectful manner?
What does offering alternatives teach them?
That there are other, better, ways to deal with conflict?
What does allowing them a ‘second chance’ teach them?
That everyone deserves a chance to do better, to make things right?
What does apologising after I yell teach them?
That everyone makes mistakes, that everyone gets angry sometimes, and that apologising is important?
My goal is not to make my kids feel bad about what happened. My goal is to help them understand the situation, to teach them how to do things differently, and how to do better next time.
So if I can just stop and think ‘what will I teach them if I do this?’ I always make a better choice and always react in a better way.
How do you manage those split second, stressful, parenting decisions?
How do you stay calm enough to make a good decision when everyone is emotional? How do decide what course of action is the best to take?
If you find parenting hard sometimes, you are not alone!
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