You’re tired, they’re tired and you beg for mercy and they say "No, I am not going to bed." Hence the battle begins after a long day into the evening. Some battles are worth it and as a parent, you quickly find out what battles to pick. But bedtime is not one of them because we need sleep. We feel disappointed because we're not perfect. If we were, the kid would listen and go to bed. You may have an all-or-nothing mindset and while you are pushing for this perfection, the war is being lost at home and in your head. We need to let go of everything we hold onto, including trying to be the perfect parent. If you need to experience peace within yourself and want your kids to be happy, consider these 7 tips.
Control the mood.What is the deal with peaceful parents? Is it true that they just let their kids do whatever they want, so they don't have to fight with them? "In fact, they're more in charge than most parents—of their own reactions, and therefore of the mood in their house. That lets them be better role models for their children," Laura Markham Ph.D. wrote. When we can get a handle on our moods and emotions, then we can set a happier climate at home. Pay attention to what triggers you. Was it the same toy you repeatedly tripped on that was never picked up? Take control of removing the toy and placing out of sight, or let it go.
Devise a plan.Devise a plan ahead of time on what can be done to distract you from the stress. Using the toy as an example, before you blow up in anger--leave for a moment and breathe. The Huffington Post shared: “Continue to breathe deeply for five minutes, feeling as your muscles untense and your heart rate returns to normal." Doing this will help reframe your thoughts. Take a walk, pray, go have some coffee or lock yourself in the closet. Accept that you can't control all the challenges in life, but you can control the way you react to them. Whatever you do, don't get into the "fight or flight" mode with your child as things will really get crazy, Markham advised. If you can stay calm, your child is more likely to cooperate.
Find the good.Awe, it's so adorable when your toddler says their first "no." After a few times, the cuteness wears off and gets on your nerves. When you really need them to do something and they keep saying "no," it's hard to find the good. Maybe your child wants to go in the adult-sized pool and you forbid it. Look to compromise here by voicing your concerns to them and maybe go in together for their safety. With this scenario, you both win and they will know that you are on their side.
Connect with your child.When we connect before we correct we show our kids empathy. Putting yourself in another’s shoes is the best way to develop caring feelings and we need to demonstrate the same. Greater Good Science Center at the University of California found that kids by age 4 move beyond making physical caring gestures and start to think about other people's feelings. "Many of these responses happen naturally, but you can make a more conscious effort to promote empathy-boosting experiences for your children.”
Demonstrate kindness.Praise you child if they do an unselfish kind act or when they show signs of contrition. Practice giving compliments to others in the home. By acknowledging the kindness of others, children will do the same. We need to demonstrate the same acts of kindness as kids will take our lead.
Give them choices.If you child is taking things off the shelves at the store and they're not listening to you, ask them to help you with the shopping. Share the grocery list with them and work together as a team. This will give them a choice and show them how to compromise in life. This action is more fruitful than yelling at them that they are “bad.” If they refuse to help or stop the negative behavior, introduce a consequence in a firm and calm matter.
Find healing.We can't help our kids to become whole if we are fractured. In order to be a happy person, we need to deal with our own baggage. Once we can start healing, then we will be able to handle our triggers better. If anxiety is a struggle, deal with it by reaching out for help. Maybe anger is a weakness, take classes on anger management or start therapy. If you don't have peace, how can there be peace at home?
There is a ton of parenting advice available. We can only go by our hearts and do the best we can and just use it as a tool, not a means to govern the family. Peace will not come easy for any parent and it will take a lot of work. The cool thing is you don't have to perfect to achieve satisfaction or worry about making mistakes. Just be real with your expectations and roll with the punches.