We often mistake being ‘a good girl’ as a positive thing. So many want their daughters to be ‘good’. But it’s not positive – it is toxic. The pressure and weight of constantly burying your feelings and needs in the pursuit of caring for others eats away at you. It gets so very heavy.
“I just can’t take any more!”, “I’ve had it up to here with being a parent!”, “I literally don’t have the capacity to handle this”, how many times have you said something similar? Every parent knows how it feels to be emotionally and physically wrung out, exhausted and unable to handle their children. We all know how it feels to be desperate for a break, and by a break I don’t just mean a brief week or two in the sun, but real, tangible time away from the demands of everyday life (including our children!).
It’s not your fault that you lose it at times. It’s not your fault you don’t love every minute of parenting and it’s not your fault that sometimes, you wonder how you’re going to make it through the day. Parenting is bloody hard.
So, what can you do if you’re having a hell of a day (or week – or more)? How do you get through the day when you feel you have nothing more to give? Give these tips a try:
1. Everybody can be a calmer parent. It doesn’t take any special personality traits. Privilege does inevitably mean that life is sadly infinitely easier for some, but we can all do some work and make some changes, regardless of our life situations, that will have a positive impact (although I do accept that lack of privileges can and will limit the changes possible)
I often read comments from those dismissing a respectful style of parenting saying but the world is tough, you don’t do children any favours by mollycoddling them. It’s better to prepare them for the real world”
I would say over 90% of the parenting dilemmas posed to me daily have one very simple answer; “you’re expecting too much of them”.
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…..
Praise is a controversial topic in Gentle Parenting circles. Many mistakenly think that gentle parents never praise their children and eschew any attempt to show children that we are proud of them. In fact, this is simply not true. Praise can and does form a role in Gentle Parenting, however it looks different to the praise that most people know and use.
…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?
Welcome to the first of my special guest interviews on why gentle parenting matters to parents around the world. For this special first interview I chat with multi gold winning Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey about breastfeeding, bedsharing, tackling tantrums and postnatal bodies.