Coping with behaviour ‘in the moment’ is important, however it’s only half of the discipline. Unless you look at the cause of the behaviour and work to remove or reduce it, the behaviour is going to keep recurring.
One of the toughest things about becoming a mother for the first time, is learning to cope with feeling guilty. We feel guilty if we don’t ‘love every minute’ (nobody does by the way!), we feel guilty if we lose our temper, we feel guilty when we desperately need a break away from our children, we feel guilty about parenting choices we make, or those that were made for us and we feel guilty about not doing enough self-care. We just can’t win. Physical exhaustion and sleep deprivation aside, the guilt must be one of the worst things about new motherhood. First-time mother guilt is hard, really hard. The second time around, you have the same guilt you had the first time around and so much more. The good news is though, that it is normal. You’re not alone.
With so many resources giving parents advice to stop sibling fighting, we lose sight of the positive side of these seemingly negative interactions. Parents are often so eager to stop any fighting that they don’t realise that actually, most sibling fights, provide wonderful communication education, personal growth and emotional literacy to both siblings. To aim to stop any sibling squabbles is not only naïve (because no families have siblings that don’t fight, often regularly!), but a lost learning opportunity for the children.
My first real ‘red mist’ moment didn’t happen until towards the end of the toddler years. Since then they have been more regular than I would care to admit. You know what though? That’s life. Nobody is perfect. There is nothing wrong with anger, it’s a normal human emotion and actually a very useful one (more on this later). The problem is in the way we deal with it, especially in front of our children.
Parenting is undoubtedly the hardest job you will ever do in your life. It is unrelenting. There is no sick pay, no duvet days when you’re ill, no holiday pay, no ‘away days’, no personnel support or workplace counselling. It is an amazing, but often tortuous blend of constant physical and mental effort.
But what do you do if the differences in your parenting beliefs surface further down the line? First, you have to acknowledge your partner’s feelings and try to understand where they come from. Often, if somebody has been raised in a certain way (and says, “It never did me any harm”), for the other partner to say that they would like to do things differently is a bit of an insult to their in-laws.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an authoritarian parent, hot on punishment and reward, or a gentle parent, focused on connection and empathy. Your kid is going to misbehave. Because that’s what they do…..
We (‘we’ meaning society) seem to think that baby sleep is linear. By that I mean we seem to think that it gets better as babies grow older. Or at least we believe it is static, ie. it won’t get worse again. The thing is, it’s not linear (certainly not in an upwards trajectory) and it’s not static. It goes up and down (mostly down in the first year). This is entirely normal and very, very common…
….You need to strive to do your best, but recognise that sometimes your best is enough, even when you don’t feel that it is.
…if people ask me to explain gentle parenting in a nutshell I always say the same “treating children how we would like to be treated ourselves”. To this day I don’t understand why it is so controversial, except perhaps that we don’t treat ourselves very well?