Sometimes we forget WHY we had children in the first place. Our lives get busy, our resources get tapped, the parenting techniques passed down from our own parents and learned from all the expert books we’ve read aren’t working and we find ourselves screaming at – or giving in to our children, just so we can get through the moment and onto the next thing.
- Long gone are the promises we made to be patience and understanding – no matter what.
- Long gone are the dreams of smooth mornings and calm nights
- Long gone are the visions of siblings who played together peacefully and with nothing but joy on their faces.
- Long gone is the belief that our child would love school and relish homework.
These dreams and promises have been replaced with reality and that reality includes tired, grouchy children who throw endless temper tantrums or make unreasonable demands and fight with their siblings until everyone is in tears and the reality of parenting, the truth of what it means to live with children day in and day out, brings us to our knees in frustration and exhaustion. We resort to bribing, begging, screaming and finally punishing or giving up. And the reasons we first decided to have children slip further from our minds.
It Doesn’t Have to be Like that
Okay, so maybe that was a bit melodramatic. In truth, only occasionally, do most of us feel completely defeated in our role as parents. The rest of the time we find a way to put on our big girl panties and do the best we can. At times a genuine smile from a child whose arms are wrapped tightly around our neck is enough to restore our passion and enthusiasm for parenting.
One thing about this parenting journey that is true and I believe is worth remembering is this
“In every moment we are either interfering with or enhancing the relationship we have with our kids.”
Everything we do, every parenting decision we make is either interfering with or enhancing the relationship we have with our children, but we rarely take the time to evaluate which of these we are doing – interfering or enhancing.
It’s clear that most of us want to spend the majority of our time enhancing the relationship we have with our kids. After all, it’s when we start interfering on a regular basis that things get really ugly and we find ourselves wondering why we thought having kids was a good idea in the first place.
Here are three of my tried and true tips for enhancing the relationship with our kids.
- Superimpose the face of your best friend on your child. Now, talk to your best friend and if you wouldn’t say it to her, don’t say it to your child. ( I am not suggesting you be your child’s best friend, this is a great test to keep the way you treat your children in check.)
- Imagine you overhear your child describing you to his or her best friend. What word would best capture you? Is it the word you hope your child will use to describe you? If not, change what you are doing and act accordingly.
- Decide that being right is overrated and you would rather be wrong if it means that you and your child maintain a healthy, happy and satisfying relationship for years to come.
And finally, as the infamous Mr. Rogers said:
“I doubt that we can ever successfully impose values or attitudes or behavior on our children…certainly not by threat, guilt or punishment. But I do believe that they can be induced through relationships where parents and children are growing together. Such relationships are, I believe, built on trust, example, talk and caring.”