PARENTING

FIVE WAYS TO MAKE YOUR PARENTING LIFE EASY

It is no surprise that parenting comes with huge lessons of ‘overwhelm’ – the common feeling shared by almost all parents if not all. Life feels like an overflowing fountain of ‘demands’ – not demands from children all the time but demands from life. Come to think of it, parenting is a wonderful SPIRITUAL JOURNEY. Many people do not completely understand the word spiritual. ‘Spiritual’ is anything that forces your ‘spirit’ to grow by having to go outside its comfort zone. Spiritual is anything that teaches us better values or to be a better version of ourselves. Having walked a wonderful parenting journey for 7 years and mentoring many parents through articles and direct conversation, I will like to share 5 simple ways to lessen that ‘overwhelming’ feeling and reduce your frustrations.

  1. Organize your home and learn management skills
  2. Prioritize social life
  3. Plan your career life
  4. Realistic expectations from your child
  5. Realistic expectations from yourself
  1. Organize your home and learn management skills – Organization is the master of leadership skills. A great leader is the one who has the skills to multi-task, prioritize, put things in order, stay focused and organized. Remember that being a parent is a lot about being a LEADER.

    What happens if your supervisor at work reaches work late, leaves work even later, doesn’t eat on time, has no proper places to file his work and has no idea what the day and week ahead will look like? Same is with you as a parent.

    One part of organization is your physical space: how well are your things and your kid/s things kept? Can you tell me in your sleep, where ANYTHING is kept without having to get up – whether it is anything in your kitchen, bedroom, dining, etc. Use organizing bins, trays, holders to make sorting easier. E.g. I place puzzles in zip lock bags, her stationery in a heavy-duty organizer on her table, soft toys in a laundry basket, all bed sheets in one drawer, a drawer for art work, one for miscellaneous items, one for puzzles, etc. My bedroom and kitchen is super organized too.

    Another part of organization is time management. How well are you with your routines? If you sleep and wake up more or less the same time daily, your life will be 80% better with your kids than you ever estimated. Your sleep-rest and body cycle has a huge impact on your mood, on your health and amount of energy you feel. Same is with your kids. Do not let them rule your routines, take charge, set time boundaries for them with T.V., eating, sleep, etc.

    What you feel, you transfer to your kids. Mentally plan your meals for the next day rather than having to wake up with a huge frustration question mark of – “Now what to cook today?” Standing in front of the kitchen cabinets, scratching your head over breakfast and lunch deals for the day is poor management. Think of every minute of your life as a great investment towards your kids. How many minutes do you want to waste and how many do you want to multiply?

  2. Prioritize your social life – Yes, we love to party and meet, greet and laugh. But Parenting is a lot about learning to make adjustments, compromises and changes in one’s life. Before my child, I would be out every Saturday and Sunday with husband and his group of friends. Once my child was born, not only did I have to change my routines for the 1st few months, but I made permanent changes to my social life.

    I don’t mean to say stop having fun but the AMOUNT and DURATION of your outings can be reconsidered. How much do you want to cook for your guests? Is it important to ‘impress’ them or to spend time with your children? Each day as a trade. When I plan a day in my mind, I ask myself- how many hours do I want to spend today with my child, based on that I make my other decisions. I may not be able to deny guests from coming home or having to attend parties but I surely DEFINE how much energy I want to put into preparations or having to stay at a party. My time with my child is not the time that is LEFT OVER after everything is taken care of, my time with my child is the 1ST thing I set aside or plan for the day and then everything else revolves around it.

  3. Plan your career life – Once again it is about need vs. demand. What do I demand from my life vs. what I need. For 6 years I dedicated my life, time, energy to my child because I CAREFULLY CALCULATED it this way – once she starts full time school at age 5, she will NEVER EVER AGAIN IN HER LIFE have a FULL WEEK with me at home. She will be spending more time at school than home and never again will I get to PLAN or SPEND 40 hours in a week with her. Hence, I rather set my career aside for those 5 years, even if there were financial challenges, I rather save money and my time with my child than give away that time to a stranger in a day care for whom she will be ‘one of the 20 kids’. That was my choice, you must make yours to what suits you bets. Do understand that time with your kids will never return and make a wise choice based on that along with all the other needs of yourself and your family.
  4. Realistic Expectations from your child – Would you rather have a ‘smart’ child who attends 5 or 7 different classes and tops in math, academics, dance, etc. or would you rather have a child who tops in ‘the language of love’. While classes can teach your child ‘skills’, sharing valuable time with the parent teaches the child invaluable lessons of love and self-growth. Exploratory play at home can be nurtured by the parent which teaches many skills to the child along with learning to build a bond, show and receive care, feel secure and important.  Also, not all kids are made for the ‘A+’ game. Grades is not everything and success is not correlated to grades alone.

    Don’t overburden them with expectations that their body or mind is not made for. Focus on their strengths, explore their talents and be realistic about their limitations. A rational and loving approach will make your parenting life easier, simpler and more successful.

  5. Realistic expectations from yourself – Now tell me that you do this – take over way too much than you can handle. You invite guests today and then accept the birthday invitation for tomorrow, then realize you had bought tickets to a party, then have groceries left to do, wish to be a super mom but also need to be super sexy, want a super skin, miss watching the latest movies and can’t stop browsing the entire world’s Facebook! P-R-I-O-T-I-Z-E !!!

Your kids do not need a super mom. Just be a M-O-M, that itself is great. Chose the top 5 important things in your life. E.g. here is my list:

  1. Spend at least an hour with my daughter on weekday and 5 total hours with her on weekend.
  2. Health – exercise 4 days a week, eat healthy 5 days a week, care for skin / hair twice a month (not the priority right now).
  3. Career – Advance in one’s career at a steady pace and build business slowly on the side.
  4. Socialize – Have an enjoyable outing 2ce a month if not more and call any close friends and family members every 2 weeks. (No receiving calls on weekdays or times when I spend with her).
  5. Learn – learn something new every month either from book, training, observation, etc. (No reading news or news channel, Facebook only to learn new skills).

I hope this article helps you settle down some of your frustrations and overwhelming feelings of parent-hood.

It is nice to be hopeful that life will continue well and it is wise to be realistic that life can change anytime! Make the most of today. Investment in your kids is the greatest investment you can ever make and that is not about how much money you invest in them or their future, it is about how much QUALITY INTERACTION you live with them in this very moment, HERE and NOW.

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PARENTING

THE TEMPER TANTRUM MYSTERY SOLVED

When parents come to me frustrated – having ‘tried’ everything they could for their child’s TEMPER TANTRUMS, my heart goes out to them. Parents are innocent to the extent they do not know what is really happening. After knowing if parents do not take appropriate action then we can call it irresponsible behavior on the parent.

UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM BEFORE JUMPING TO THE SOLUTION

The reason why nothing works is because we have not understood the problem correctly or completely. Jumping to a solution without knowing the actual problem never brings results. So what is the actual problem when a child shouts, screams, stomps, acts stubborn? The problem is in the way we perceive the child’s behaviour. We believe the child WANTS to be difficult, needs that cookie or TV time and that’s why the child is wrong.

NO. 1

The truth is that the child is looking to fulfill another EMOTIONAL NEED through this behaviour. Not all children throw temper tantrums and anyone who sells you into the TERRIBLE TWOs idea is not completely right. Tantrums are a way for kids to express EMOTIONAL PAIN. It is an emotional wound. What would you do when your child had physically hurt, really badly? Would you not rush to soothe your child and do a remedy with ‘LOVE’ vs. criticizing?

NO. 2

Our children scream and shout because and only because they see OTHER ADULTS scream and shout, most likely one or more of their immediate care givers. We have taught our children that ‘shouting and screaming is THE WAY to solve problems’. It is not their fault. They are only imitating us! Think again before you show them CARTOONS, NEWS, TV SHOWS that portray VIOLENCE and POWER as a means of problem solving or ‘winning’ over the good or the bad.

NO. 3

It is human nature to scream or shout when one feels overwhelmed from the situation. It is the ultimate height of frustration.

Children get frustrated because they feel misunderstood. They do not have words in their mental dictionary to recognize and say – “I am stubborn for the cookie because IN REALITY I am feeling LONELY or UNWANTED…” It is for US to understand what the underlying emotional need is. Maybe they were ill-treated in school or they feel criticized by other adults. Maybe they feel rejected or simply miss spending time with us and our personal attention. Have you been way too B-U-S-Y lately?Maybe they are being ‘abused’ in some way. We are their only support. Please let us understand our children. A child who regularly or often throws temper tantrums is in IMMEDIATE and URGENT EMOTIONAL NEED.

NO. 4

We must accept that we throw tantrums as well! If we don’t accept our mistakes and improve, neither will our children. We shout, scream, get angry at our children and others. Even if we don’t anger our kids, they watch us communicate with others. They learn by seeing us with others as well.It could be that you are facing tough situations at home, at work or through your in-laws. That is understandable and yet, it is our duty to get support for ourselves so that we can raise children in a stable manner. Some ways to VENT out our frustrations and anger are: Pen it down on paper, talk to a friend who will be non-judgmental, take coaching or counseling sessions (very helpful), play sports and exercise, improve eating and sleeping habits, discuss with your family members how they can improve and support you, move out of highly stressful situations or jobs, etc.

Going to counselor or a coach does not mean something is wrong with you or that you will be ‘CORRECTED’. It means that you deserve UNCONDITIONAL and NON-JUDGEMENTAL SUPPORT and CARE along with expert advice.

 

 

No. 5

Take time out. Understand yourself. Be observant. When your pressures are rising and you are about to hit the frustration mark, let your kid/s know that you are feeling ‘OVERWHELMED’ and need to calm down before you continue the conversation (no matter how imp., take a break!). Tell them that you will come back to them once you are able to calmly talk to them.

Same for your kids. Encourage your kids to take time off saying that it will help YOU understand THEM better when they are calmer. They can choose their CALM SPOT in the house beforehand and a favorite soft toy or God to talk to. Allow them that silence and even privacy if needed (Make sure they don’t lock rooms or other adults don’t go after them).

 

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No. 6

Attending to our kids doesn’t mean bowing down to all their needs. And an angry child doesn’t mean a child who wants to be DIFFICULT or MEAN.

Do you shout at your child because you enjoy being difficult, mean or harsh? If your answer is NO, same applies to your child. Children don’t want to ‘get into trouble’. Nobody likes being criticized. They are in serious emotional help and if their IMMEDIATE care givers cannot give them the sense of security, who will? As parents, we are the epitome of a SECURE WORLD FOR THEM. If they don’t get it from home, they will never get from anywhere!

On the other hand, let’s say your child is truly ‘out-of-hand’. That your child truly wants to manipulate and ‘get things out of you’. Yet, once again here you the parent have set that behavioural theme at some point. The child has LEARNT that I can get things out of my parent/s if I cry, throw fits, etc. Once again the problem is not with the child but with the parent who thinks “Jaane dete hai. Bechara bahut ro raha hai”. This is the ‘Easy way out approach’.

In reality, often times you don’t want to give in to the child but it is easier than dealing with the drama. If you could stay firm yet polite means clearly state, repeat and then stay silent with the same ‘mantra’, it would help you send the right message to your child.

E.g. – “No matter how you show me your anger, it is not T.V. day today.. However, I would love to spend 10 mins. (or more) of hide and seek (or anything you like) with you. I miss it so much. Tell me when you are ready for it. I will wait for you in my room until then”.

No. 7

In our original Hindu Scriptures it is clearly written that not only should children respect elders but elders must ALSO respect those younger to them. It is also stated that when an elder person is wrong, a child has the right to correct them. These shlokas are said out during pujas like Satyanarayan puja and if the pujari is wise, he explains it too!

It is sad that our culture today only teaches and even FORCES kids to RESPECT adults and by respect they mean – “Never correct your adults”. On Janmashtami Day I want to spread this message. Lord Krishna is our perfect example who has taught us that wisdom does not come with age in one birth, it comes with the age of the Soul which can be way wiser than any adult and that one must also stop adults with wrongful behaviour/s.

I hope this helps! There is a lot more about Anger Management and Tantrums but this is the basic, most important foundation to it!

Image Courtesy: Google images

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