Parenting has never been easy. Yet for the modern day parent – with more time spent in close proximity to our kids than ever before and multiple demands on our time pulling us in all directions – it’s all too easy to let the stress boil over, flip your lid at the kids and then wallow in the inevitable guilt and shame that follows. Try these tips instead…
1. Reconnect and make amends⠀
First things first, make an unqualified apology, which means making no excuses for your behaviour and taking back anything you’ve said which you didn’t mean. Maybe you did mean it at the time, but you know it’s not true, not helpful and maybe even detrimental to your child’s sense of worth in the long run.
Don’t skip this important step. Your child needs you to role model a proper reconciliation if you want him or her to grow up willing and able to do the same. Any apology where a “but” escapes your lips needs rejigging into one where you take full responsibility for your actions.
2. Forgive yourself⠀
Consciously and wholeheartedly forgive yourself. You’re only human and – despite the unfathomable high standards society seems to expect of parents, especially mothers – no parent is perfect.
Take care of yourself in whatever way you need to recuperate because you deserve it. Breathe, rest, exercise, take a proper break if you have support and are able to. If you don’t, maybe this looks like treating yourself to a bath with candles if you can commit to carving out a small slice of time after your kids’ bedtime. Be intentional about it and the fact you’re taking care of yourself because you need it. Send a clear message to yourself that you are worthy and deserving of time and space to yourself to rest and recuperate.
Think about what’s most important to you: Is it most important your kid does exactly what you say the moment you say it? Or is it more important that they are respected, have their own mind, that you’re connected, they feel unconditionally loved and worthy?
Reconnect with and recommit to your values, how you want to parent, how you want your household to feel and how you want your child to feel about themselves and your relationship. And start again.
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