We all have those moments. You know.. the ones where you think (or say!) I did not raise you this way? Or, when did I start feeling so bitter! Or, oh my, I need a break! These are signs that you need a reset in your relationship with your child (and your parenting partner too!), and likely need to refocus and bond again with your family.
These are feelings and feelings are okay!
But, when we are feeling guilty about our feelings, or when we get resentful, it is a sign that the feelings aren’t being recognized, it is a sign we need to take a step back and get a “reset” so to speak.
Signs you need a parenting reset
- You expect your children to act more mature – like an adult, when they are young, developing, growing and not ABLE to control their emotions (heck, we have to admit, as adults even we have struggles!)
- Small things irritate you – things that usually you’d laugh about, gently tease, or even encourage in a playful way.
- You don’t even want to talk about it – when it is this bad, chances are you’ve already had a change in expectations and bigger things are even annoying you to the point that you’re avoiding issues.
We can avoid things for ever – yes, sometimes, as a defense mechanism we avoid things, but we need to recognize that we can reset. Kids are resilient – they overcome. They often still thrive in situations we can’t handle anymore. So, be honest and take time to reset your parent-child relationship.
How do we reset our parenting relationship?
In speaking with other parents, here are some tips that others recommend for resetting.
- Find your favorite parenting books – you know, the ones that helped you decide how you wanted to parent. The ones you read during pregnancy or the ones you read early on. Find those books and remind yourself. Don’t feel guilty, just take it in. Let the emotions pour over you. Cry if you need to even… but BE, remind yourself of the parent you aspire to be.
- Make a strategy. Now that you have a better idea of your limits, find ways to make sure you don’t get there. Does it mean sharing child care with a friend so you can get a pedicure once a month? Does it mean taking a run at 5:30 am, even though your youngest is still waking at night, so that you get a clear mind before you have to either head to work, or your partner does?
- Take time with your children. Uninstall facebook from your phone for a while. Deactivate your profile if necessary. Have plans to have times with your children without distractions, doing things you enjoy doing together. Teach your daughter checkers. Show your son how to throw a spiral. Bring your daughter with you to plant a community garden. Ask your son to come with you to pick out new colors for his room. Block out these times on your calendar/phone as “no phone” times. Put your phone on silent, leave it in the car if need-be, and just BE a parent. Parenting likely was a bit easier before we were reminded of what everyone else seems to be doing as a parent.
- Forgive yourself and check in. This means, even if you had a “bad parenting” spell, and you weren’t all you thought you’d be, you always have the future. You can’t undo weaning your child (well, okay, some do), you can’t take back hurtful words, but you can do better in the future. Do your best next time. Check in with yourself every week. Five minutes on Friday when you’re taking that shower you missed on Thursday – see what it is that you’re doing, how you’re feeling and make sure that you’re working toward your parenting goal.
- Be honest with your child. They probably know you messed up. But owning your feelings can help them learn to own their feelings and to be honest as well.
- Realize mistakes happen. Don’t be hard on yourself – it won’t build you back up. Just re-set when you need to so that you can reconnect.
Parenting isn’t about Pinterest it is about connecting.
And it helps when I tell myself this:
I forgive myself for the times I don’t parent at my best.
Each day—even each hour—brings another chance to do it better.