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Growing with your child: the key to positive parenting

By Deanne Atkinson IN Connect

“I said do it now! Do as I say! I am getting angry at you. Go and do it now!”

Have you ever felt this way with your child, or even said words similar?  Do you feel a fire bubbling up inside of you when your children don’t do as they’re told? Does it remind you of your own childhood? Being on the receiving end of strict words? Does parenting make you feel like you are an ogre? Do you find parenting just plain hard?

Over a decade ago when I had my son, I struggled.

As a single mum, I felt challenged in every way and I was overwhelmed. When my son was a toddler he pushed my buttons and I began to really dislike myself. My reactions were filled with intolerance and impatience and each day included a level of frustration from both of us!

Parenting was harder than I thought it would be and I felt ashamed to admit it to anyone. I knew that I needed to change. I was the grown up and I had already participated in many self-help workshops, peeling back those onion layers that I knew it was time to dig deep and change some negative thoughts and patterns that felt engrained inside of me.

I knew my son was teaching me that I needed to grow.

Most people are aware of the negative effects of yelling at your child and that it doesn’t resolve anything. Usually mum ends up feeling guilty and the child is unhappy and hurt.

Children not listening and mum’s frustration is one of the most common problems I see. Usually, mum has had enough, is unhappy and in need of much support.

Getting frustrated at your kids just doesn’t feel good and doesn’t make for a happy household. Unfortunately, this negative cycle can go on and on until mum actually is at her wit’s end.

Unfortunately, when mums get to a point of exhaustion and unfulfillment they often feel afraid of being judged if they seek help.

Fear of being a failure, shame or embarrassment can also haunt a mum who is struggling within her household.

However, it takes courage and strength to admit you need to change some of your ways and that you need some help!

The mums who walk into my clinic or participate in my parenting program are in my opinion amazing mums. They want to change, they want to grow and find enjoyment in parenting.

I encourage you to never feel ashamed of your inner thoughts or feelings.

If they make you feel uncomfortable see it as a springboard towards the opportunity to change.

To peel back that onion layer, learning about yourself and expanding your heart.

Our children are great teachers at showing us where we need to change, what triggers we have and how we can learn to handle situations differently.

They will let you know if your parenting style doesn’t suit them through their behaviour.

Nobody likes to feel controlled or overpowered and unfortunately, a traditional parenting method does just that.

For me, one of the aspects of motherhood is teaching my children by example by growing as a person and a mother. When they see me being accountable with a willingness to be a better person they see me change and grow in my ability to love and within that I hope to inspire them to do the same.

If you are feeling like everything you say is going on deaf ears try changing your approach.

Children start to get tired of being told what to do and want a say in their environment and want to feel heard. Instead of instructing your children all the time start by giving age-related choices with outcomes.

By giving children age-related choices children start to feel like they have a say. You are also building a lifelong skill.

We make choices all day and if the outcome is negative we learn a valuable lesson and then move on by making another choice. Children need this skill to cope with life so they are confident to make their own decisions in life. Choices with outcomes build self-esteem and allow children to learn in their own time.

To build a more calm and connected bond with your child, remember these tips…

1. Have an approach of treating them how you want to be treated. This is a great way to ensure equality in the household.

2. Give age-related choices to your child and explain the outcome so they are informed.

3. Cultivate patience by flexing your compassion muscle. We all learn in our own time. That might mean your child makes several choices with negative outcomes until they learn and choose differently next time.

4. It is okay to remove yourself if you are starting to feel overwhelmed with frustration or anger. Just let your child know that you will be back in a few minutes once you have calmed down.

5. Start with simple choices as young as possible. For example, give a two-year-old the choice of what clothes to wear. (You might need to put summer clothes away during winter and vice versa.)

6. If they get upset with the outcome of a choice they have made help them learn they can make a better choice next time.

7. Be open that sometimes we are the ones who need to change. Often when we do change, there is a ripple effect and children will respond positively.

8. Before raising your voice and repeating the same thing have a mindful approach and take a minute to look at your tone of your voice, your energy and the words you are using. Ask yourself would you like to be spoken to that way.

9. Let them express themselves. Ask them what they are feeling if their behaviour has been off. Often this needs to be done after an event when everyone has calmed down.

10. Have a long term approach rather than a short term fix. By letting them make some choices you are teaching them confidence and accountability for their choices. Just remember to keep choices age-related.

Having defined values can be like a roadmap

Values are a great way to help guide us when it comes to parenting. Whenever we’re at a crossroads we can go back to our values and use them to help resolve our path forward.

Some values I suggest are honesty, accountability, and equality.

Have some values which feel right for your family and often when a situation arises check back with your values and then mindfully make the necessary changes according to these values.

Never be too hard on yourself when it comes to parenting.  You’re only human and we all have bad days. Take a break when you need it and fill that cup of yours. Remember, you’ve got this!

Deanne Atkinson

Deanne is a Parent Coach, Spiritual Counsellor with a background in Nursing and Massage Therapy.

Deanne has a family of six which includes two children of her own and two step children. She is very aware of the struggles which occur within families and has a strong interest in emotional wellbeing and personal development.

Parent with Passion was founded to help parents understand the cause behind negative behaviour and to also support mums to grow in their role as a parent.

Deanne believes as we grow and work on our own issues, we can reduce negative patterns being passed down from generation to generation.

She promotes a spiritual approach to parenting which supports equality and builds confidence and independence in children rather than overpowering or instructing them to do as they are told.

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