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Being a parent is hard! I get it. You spend so much time caring for your children, making sure they eat, are clean, and even happy! It can be so frustrating sometimes, though. Especially when they try to fight with you…..about everything! And, I’m not even talking about teenagers here, yet. I’m talking about little kids! They are so stubborn about trying to get their own way. ALL THE TIME! It’s like it’s they’re job!
Like my two year old right now who thinks she doesn’t need to put her shoes on before we leave the house…
They’re testing you. Trying to find out what they can get away with; or how far they can go before you start to snap! SO very frustrating! You’ve been there (I’ve been there)! I know what you are going through! But, there is one thing YOU can do to make this ‘being a parent’ thing a ton easier!
No, it’s not hiring a babysitter or a nanny, though wouldn’t that be nice!
Respond, DON’T React to their Behavior
It’s how you handle situations that arise between yourself and children. FRUSTRATING situations.
It can be so easy to say or do whatever comes to our minds when our children are misbehaving. But, don’t do it, or say it! Think about what you do or say first! THINK FIRST, then speak or act! I cannot stress how important this is.
IT IS HARD!! I’m not going to sugarcoat anything here. We all want to act on instinct here, it’s the whole point of having instincts. But, we’re adults. We made these beautiful little humans. And, we didn’t make them simply to allow them to drive us insane, or to discipline them for trying to be their independent little selves. We need to take responsibility for our actions towards them, just as we want to teach them that they need to take responsibility for their own actions.
So, let’s see…
What Happens When we React…
When we react, out of instinct, who knows what’s going to happen or what you’ll say! One thing is pretty certain, though. And, that’s the fact that you are not being a good role model for your children. And, our children tend to be like ‘monkey see, monkey do’. So, they will see what you’re doing and do the same thing back to you….this is where the frustration begins.
Just like you, they won’t think before they talk to you. Or, they’ll do something that they feel they need to do at the time, out of anger or whatever other feelings they are having right then. This may be where power struggles between yourself and children begin….and never where the struggles end!
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No one ‘wins’ when you act based on how upset you are with your child’s behavior, in the moment. Moments change, sometimes quite quickly. So, before you discipline your child or tell them how you feel about what they just did, or said, THINK!
Think about what might happen after you do or say something to your child. How will they take it? Will they understand why they are being disciplined, or will they just think you’re a mean mommy, or daddy? Are they the type of child who will talk back to you, or fight back, if you spark that fire unintentionally?
If I see that my kids play room looks like a tornado went through it 20 minutes after ‘I helped’ them pick it up. And, I see that there are things out that only my 5 year old could have taken out. I get upset. I just spent around 20 to 30 minutes ‘helping’ them pick up and organizing everything…and by ‘helping’, I mean they picked up a few toys while I picked up the rest, to help them build up the confidence that they can do it by themselves…
If I simply react, which I’ve done before (I’m no exception to needing to think before I act or speak), and tell my older daughter in a stern voice to pick up the room NOW or I’m going to throw away her toys! She will do one of a few things. She will either cry, talk back to me and tell me to just throw them away, or get really overwhelmed and tell me she’s not going to do it (but might help me, if I pick everything up again).
Those were not the responses I was looking for when trying to get her to pick up her room. Not only did I give out an empty consequence (throwing away her toys), but she got more upset with me, which in turn made me more upset, as well!
Has something like this ever happen to you?
The DIFFERENCE You can make with Responding
So, don’t just react to a child’s behavior (it won’t give you a desirable outcome), respond instead! Take some time to think about it! Let’s see what a difference it will make!
First, responding to a child’s behavior in a calm manner can help them feel calm. You set the tone for the conversation. And, if you feel like they are trying to set the tone, you can turn that tone around quicker when you respond to your child, rather than simply reacting…and getting into a yelling match, or seeing who can let their emotions control them the most!
Taking the time to respond, not react, will help ensure you don’t give out empty consequences, making what you say to your child more meaningful to them. It’ll also make sure that what you say or do is what you actually mean. This way your child knows that if you tell them to do something, you mean it, and they better do it or they’ll have consequences for their actions. And, they’ll learn that you actually mean what you say. Sorry, that was a little redundant; just trying to get my point across!
This is something you should start doing when your kids are young. The sooner you start responding, rather than reacting, the easier your life will be as a parent. There won’t be AS MANY fights about nothing. (I’m not guaranteeing you won’t still have these fights!)
Reacting to a child’s behavior out of instinct can be quite toxic and can bring on a chain reaction of negative emotions on all sides. Children copy what we do, whether we want them to or not. So, if they see us being controlled by our own emotions and not dealing with a situation properly; how are they ever going to learn how to control their emotions and not simply react to situations they are in?
Remember, we, as parents, are our children’s biggest role models. They want to be like us, at least when they’re little. They look up to us, and believe what we do is what they’re supposed to do, as well.
So, let’s raise our children to be individuals who think before they act and speak, rather than instinctively react to a situation without assessing it first! Let’s raise our children to be responsible adults!
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