You are a parent who spends a lot of time analyzing your parenting skills but some days there are moments of overwhelming frustration. You love your child / children very dearly but OMG, sometimes you are even tempted to over rule the no smacking policy. What can you do to avoid those moments.?
Spending average ‘just being at home’ time with your children is a good example:
It’s the 4th day of the school holidays and you have taken the week off work to be with your two junior-school age children. Any mother does this because she loves her children. It has rained continually and all of those fun outdoor things you were going to do are waiting for fine weather. You are feeling guilty because you are starting to wish you were back at work. You are letting them play games and watch TV way over their usual limit just for a chance to have a peaceful cup of coffee. That’s not too much to ask is it? Hey you should feel good about yourself, Jasmine next- door has put Shaniah and Jaydon into holiday care and she doesn’t even work!
Your children are starting to niggle, tease and insult each other and they seem to especially like to do that when you are in the room with them. Then they like to involve you, for instance:
“Mum, Abigail just said I stink”
“Mum, Charlie said I’m the ugliest person he knows”
“Just stop it both of you” is your usual reply.
“But he started it”
“No I didn’t Mum, he punched me as well”
You take a big breath and sigh. Is it worth trying to sort this out or should I have some more coffee? That’s another problem, you are on your third cup and it’s only ten o’clock.
This is when you ask yourself ‘Who Has The Problem?
At this stage they don’t seem too worried about the bickering but you do not like having to listen to it. So maybe it’s more your problem than their’s?
So you walk out of the room. Completely ignore their conversation, don’t comment on it and remove yourself so you don’t have to listen. Say you are going to the letter box or going to the bathroom or going to water the garden (maybe not if it’s been raining for four days but you get the general idea). There is nothing wrong with their bickering. It’s healthy argy-bargy between children and does no harm. In fact, it’s good training for conflict resolution in later life.
It is just very hard to listen to without getting involved. You can’t believe these children you love so much can be so petty and often they will try to involve you. If you try to take the side of the underdog you will get it wrong. Unless they are close to killing each other, by the time you return from your errand ,it is usually all over.
That’s not to say it won’t start again but just ask yourself who has the problem and if you seem more affected than them, well it is your problem.
The teenagers untidy room is a very common example:
A teenager with a continually untidy bedroom. You try the usual types of parental requests.”Could you please tidy your room this weekend/ Please clean up your bedroom before you go to the skate park/beach”
Then it becomes a bit stronger .”Yes you can go to Zac’s house but not until you have tidied your room” “ No I’m not paying for your haircut until you tidy your room”.
So once again you ask yourself, “Who Has The Problem?”
Obviously your child is not worried about the untidy bedroom but you are .You don’t enjoy having to see it all the time and the confrontations are relentless.
They scream “Don’t go in there. Keep the door closed!” It is their personal space I guess, should I just leave it to them? I will admit that this is a hard one but honestly it makes life so much easier if you just ignore it. If you are a very tidy person you will struggle with this but it is definitely worth a try because if you can’t see the room, it won’t upset you and not having to nag all the time about cleaning it up takes a lot of angst out of your relationship with your teenager. You may have to occasionally suggest they throw their sheets in the laundry. You can also say you have half a load of washing and is there anything they would like to add to the machine but if they decline, just accept it.
It will become THEIR problem when they run out of clean clothes, they can’t find something important, when the empty drink can is attracting ants or a mouse has taken up residence in the empty takeaway container.
The one thing you must remember is not to engage in the “I told you, you should clean your room” if they are upset by the consequences of an untidy room. You are respecting their choice, which they are surprised and happy about so don’t insult them with backhanded comments.
Try these ideas.
They will give you more time to love and enjoy your children and lessen many of the petty irritations.
Hi I’m Joss. I love being a mom and obviously love my children but my god somedays are tough! I recently read this article titled ‘What is Love?’ (http://www.worldtransformation.com/what-is-love) which talks about love and selflessness being the meaning of life. It certainly has got me thinking about the world and love on a much deeper level.