Parenting is all about give and take and adjusting to whatever challenges come. I feel like with the craziness and business of life (not to mention changing hormones), we are adjusting and changing our parenting skills all of the time. There are things that have helped us be more flexible parents.
BE OBSERVANT. This is important! Pay attention to your spouse, kids, and overall feelings in your home. Notice what your kids are doing, how they talk to you and to their siblings, and who they hang out with or interact with. The best time to make changes is when you first notice something, before problems can escalate and get out of hand.
You don’t have to be PERFECT! When my kids were little, I showed up late for a meeting and had a lady say to me, “Oh it’s good to know that you aren’t perfect.” That really stuck with me. She had no idea what I was going through then. Everyone struggles but those struggles come at different times. Don’t take your worst days and compare them to someone else’s best days. Here are some of my posts about perfection and not being so hard on yourself.
Don’t be afraid to CHANGE. This can be a hard one. I find I discipline like my dad did. Sometimes I just expect my kids to behave a certain way. Or a battle of wills-Who’s will is stronger? Mom should always be right, right? It is okay to be wrong sometimes and to adjust your parenting techniques as your kids change and for each individual child. I’m surprised by just how different each of my children are. Things that worked for my girls, definitely didn’t work for my son. I have tried lots of different parenting techniques. Some definitely work better than others at different times. It also depends on the age and hormone levels of the kids… I laughed when my friend said that her kids turned into teenagers and it was as if their brains fell out. Losing their minds is definitely a reason to adjust your parenting techniques, right?
Say Sorry. If you make a mistake or discipline harshly, apologize. Done. Figure out what you can do better next time and try to be a little bit better. It isn’t always easy since my pride usually gets in the way, but fixing things will make your home so much better!
Show added LOVE. I’m learning that if my kids are acting up, we are usually super busy, they aren’t sleeping enough, and I am not showing them that I love them. I just read The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers. It was so insightful for me! My kids all have different Love Languages and it is so hard for me to show them my love in their way. But I have been trying to use each of their Love Languages and I have already seen a huge difference in their behavior. Two of my kids even cleaned up my house while I was gone. My daughter that never talks is now starting to talk to me more. Definitely a success. I think all kids just want to know that they are loved and when they feel that love, they behave better.
No when you can’t bend. There are certain things that are non-negotiable. I will not back down on certain things and won’t put up with them either. Lying, unkindness, laziness, disobedience, disrespect…are a few things that I am very strict about. Those are the things I stop right when they start so they don’t get worse.
Put the kids to work. Work is so beneficial to your children. You are teaching them how to be responsible adults and they need to learn how to do everything in the home. We have gone through several chore chart systems. We just started a new chore system. I got tired of my kids saying, “But that isn’t my job!”. So we decided that they will now mark off their chart each week when they do any jobs. I want them to notice when things need to be done without me telling them. I’ll let you know how it goes when they figure it all out. Do you have a favorite chore system?
Rely on your spouse. My husband is my biggest supporter. Together we discuss how things are going and if changes need to be made. Include him in all of your struggles. Make sure you are on the same page for discipline and it will make such a difference in your home.
Rely on the Lord. Remember they are His children too. He wants you and your children to learn and grow and be successful. Talk to Him in prayer. Tell Him your frustrations and challenges and pray for each child by name. You will see a difference as He lifts you up and inspires you to be an amazing, successful parent and shows you how to get through to your child.
There really is no cookie-cutter way to parent. Try different things until you find something that works. My kids are all unique and different and they change as they get older. I am constantly trying to juggle the best way to parent them while helping them be their best. The challenge is real, but it is possible! Keep at it! Let me know what you do to be successful in parenting.