‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood’ (Dr. Stephen R Covey)
I was a nosy child. Apparently my favourite phrase was “how come?”
In the seventies the standard answer to a quizzical child was “it just is” or “because that’s the way it is, get used to it”
Many of us have been programmed to just accept. Just do things as everyone else did them. So during my earliest parenting days when I was worrying about messing up, I decided “someone must know how to do this?” Surely there is insight, wisdom somewhere.
Few times in life can we feel more at sea than when we become parents. Parenting is the one thing we often worry about messing up the most. And to compound that, nowadays, the bar has been raised so high too. Successful parenting to some not only equals happy rounded children but also more and more, children who should excel.
Although parenting has existed for millennia, people continue to insist ‘they don’t come with a manual’, you just have to accept the terrible twos and the torturous teens. Suck it up.
But what if you didn’t? What if there was help and insight and how to’s ?? What if you could acquire skills quickly that would change your life?
Maybe you have a child who is biting, wetting the bed, siblings who fight all the time.
Maybe you find it difficult to get your kids to respond to your requests consistently without bribes or treats or threats.
Maybe you have a handle on it mostly but have to resort to being stricter than you would like sometimes.
Maybe you are exhausted & at your wits end?
There is oceans of wisdom available. It can be easier. What I found was, a few little gems of wisdom in how I communicated, made a world of difference between calm and chaos.
I’ve NO TIME.
Understandably, lots of parents feel they genuinely don’t have time to be reading books. I was a slow distracted reader who didn’t do books fullstop. Besides I had no time, a job, three children, the usual pressures of planning the meals to nurture them, the hobbies to enrich them, boxes to tick, the treadmill of life to do. There’s just no time.
But there is. There has to be.
Some simple tiny changes to how you communicate with your children often has huge life changing rewards.
For example “Matthew, You’re not hungry, you couldn’t possibly be, I’m so sick of this, you never stop eating, you’re just bored” could be changed to “Matthew, so you’re telling me you’re hungry even though you just had a banana, a yoghurt, a sandwich, a boat and a car” It’s amazing the difference in the reaction and the follow on to these two statements.
Once I changed how I was communicating with my children, everything else changed.
Use Audible, install the app on your phone or PC and sign up for a free book with a 30-day trial and then £7.99/month after 30 days, which entitles you to one free credit. You can Cancel anytime. I listen whilst cooking, cleaning, even driving sometimes or going for a walk. It is a great investment. And makes rereading sections, making notes and bookmarking very easy.
Pick a book. Read the book reviews on Amazon.com, 3-5 reviews will give you a good idea if the book will resonate with you, I always read a few 5 stars and a few 2-3 stars, the 1 stars are often the naysayer..moaners.
Make notes, use an app like Evernote to jot down tips and techniques to try.
Start slowly introducing ideas and see what feels right and works for you and your family. Try to keep trying. Be Consistent.
No matter how bad the day is, tomorrow is a new day, new day, new way, start again tomorrow. If you forget for two months, just start again.
Reflection is something I started doing as a teacher, but it’s very useful as a parent also. Before you fall off to sleep, a quick reflection on what went well today and what didn’t. Don’t beat yourself up, no one is striving for perfection, just start again tomorrow or try a new book
My Parenting Book RECOMMENDS.
Many of these will be in your local library also.
“How to talk so Kids will listen and listen so Kids will talk“ by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish(This book is a life changing read. It makes so much sense and will revitalise you immediately. I loved the easy tone and understanding. I returned to it again and again (particularly in the early years until it became second nature), acknowledge their feelings, name the feelings. I even learnt to acknowledge my own feelings from this book. It was surprising to hear it is ok and even good practice to name them out loud to a four year old and for them to hear that mum is feeling tired or frustrated right now!)