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Kids Are An Interruption To My Life. Ouch!

One day, my children were mucking around. My husband was working away at the time and I was trying to get them into bed.

They were laughing and giggling and jumping about. At first I was playing along, but then I wanted them to settle down. I had a lot of work to do when they went to sleep and my focus was on doing that. I’d had enough of the play. It was time to sleep and I was attached to the picture of them calming down.

However, they weren’t playing the game and kept mucking around (as children do). My blood started boiling as the conversation in my head started to roll around in “they’re not listening to me”…I just want them to stop….”They need to go to bed NOW”….blah, blah, blah.

It escalated until I came to breaking point and shouted at them in my clenched-teeth way when I lose control. They instantly quietened down and went to bed, but I felt awful! That’s not the way to end the day. However I’d done it and I couldn’t take it back.

Knowing what I know in regards to the teachings of The Parental Stress Centre, I knew I needed to find the core belief that drove my anger to begin with. What was really going on to make me react this way? Was there any pattern to my thinking that causes me to react like this in other times?

I got to journaling, like I get my course participants to do when we’re trying to establish the beliefs behind our emotions, and after a while of looking at my ‘story’ behind my anger, it hit me. My core belief was:

“My children are an interruption to my life!”

WTF, are you serious? I couldn’t believe this is what I had thought. How terrible that was to think that way. But there it was right there on the page, and I knew that’s what I believed, because I felt it to the point of tears stinging the back of my eyes.

Oh dear, that was one belief I definitely needed to upgrade. I didn’t want my kids to feel like they were interrupting my life.

So here’s the upgrade:

Nothing can interrupt your life. Every experience IS your life. It’s just one event giving way to the next. There is no event that is more important than another. Everything is valuable. My children were in the moment, something I need to do more of. Parenting is a part of my life experience, too and I need to embrace every moment with my kids because, just like every other moment in life, it will rise and pass away. They will grow up, leave the nest and I will move onto other activities. My children are not an interruption to my life. They ARE my life, and a big part of it. Enjoy the moments while they’re here.

Change what you think about and what you think about changes…

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

Eliminating Disrespect (Part B)

In my last article – Why Your Kids Disrespect You, we looked at some of the reasons why disrespect occurs between a parent and a child. Now let’s look at how you can turn it all around.

Your children will not respect you until you demand that they respect you.

By that, I don’t mean ranting and raving about how they don’t respect you and how they don’t care about what you do for them. I mean when you teach them a standard of treatment that you expect from them and issue serious consequences for them if this expectation is not met.

Human beings operate with the agenda of pursue pleasure and avoid pain.  If you set the standard and issue consequences for behaving less than the standard, and those consequences are painful (meaning they don’t like them or it means they have to lose something they want or experience something they don’t like), then they will learn not to behave that way.

This doesn’t just work for respect, this works for anything you are trying to teach your children (FYI, it doesn’t always have to be punishment either, you can motivate using the pursuit of pleasure – i.e., rewards for co-operation or good behaviour).

Just remember what you’re doing it for. What is it that you’re actually trying to teach? What is the life lesson or life skill you are trying to teach? Make sure it’s for those reasons, as opposed to just obeying so you get what you want…as tempting as that is, lol.

One final point….

 

Is it really disrespect? Is it really about you at all?

Keep in mind that often, our child’s behaviour has nothing to do with you at all. We can be so quick to make our child’s behaviour personal and jump onto the “My children don’t respect me train” but often it’s not because they don’t respect you at all, it’s because they’re learning how to deal with their frustrations, they are learning a new skill or using you as a venting board because they don’t know what else to do.

It’s important to take your self-worth away from your child’s behaviour and start to look at what’s going on in the child’s mind behind the behaviour.

When you do this, you might just see that they need your help to deal with a situation differently. You can still address the fact that they are treating you rudely or inappropriately, but make sure you give them some tools to help them deal with the actual problem differently too.

If you don’t know how to help them, then maybe you can sit down together and work it out.

Dealing with the problem by finding solutions….

If you would like more information on how to communicate more effectively with your child, change the way your family interacts with each other, or how to lower the stress levels in the home, our Stress Free Parenting program can teach you all that and more.

Warm Regards,

 

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

Why Your Kids Disrespect You (Part A)

I wish I had a dollar for every time a parent said to me “Why doesn’t my child respect me?”, so I thought I would dedicate the next couple of days to understanding some of the reasons why they don’t and how you can change them.

Here are three reasons why your child might disrespect you:

  1. They don’t know how to respect! I know that sounds really funny, but often our children don’t know what respect is or how to show it, particularly if you have not had anyone specifically show them.Often, we are so busy complaining about what they’re NOT doing, that we aren’t showing them what we do want them to do. We just keep saying things like, “You don’t respect me,”  “You’re speaking rudely to me,” “Don’t speak to me like that.” But nowhere in there are you telling them what you want them to do. We expect it to be obvious, but the reality is, it may not be.
  2. Do you deserve their respect? Whoa, I know that’s a confronting question, however, a valid one. Just because you do things for your children, does not mean they will automatically respect you. Respect has to be learnt and earned – often being earned because of the way you are treating them. Respect is a two-way street so sometimes that means taking a good look at your own behaviour.How is your treatment towards them? Are you treating them with respect? Are you recognising and validating their thoughts, opinions, suggestions and wants and needs as a result or are you just demanding they treat you nicely and obey your rules regardless of how you are treating them?

    The thing is, you can go down that road, but you won’t be getting respect. You’ll be getting compliance and a child who obeys you.

  3. You teach people how to treat you! There are several ways we can unconsciously allow our children to disrespect us and then wonder why we do. Here is a few of them.
  • You ignore them when they speak rudely to you, or there are no consequences. You merely say “We don’t speak to each other like that” and then go on your way, issuing no motivational reasons why they shouldn’t speak to them that way.
  • You think that you have to do everything for them and you have your self-worth on them needing you, so you worry that if you take that away from them they won’t love you as much, thus you don’t want to issue consequences. This also goes hand in hand with “I don’t want to see them unhappy”. The reality is that pain is how we learn. I don’t mean you should go around inflicting physical pain on your kids, but I mean the pain of not getting what we want can often teach us how to get what we want.
  • You don’t feel worthy of respect and therefore are used to people treating you poorly, thus your kids follow suit and you don’t think of doing something to change that. It has become the norm that people treat you like that. (They may even be following suit with how someone else in the family treats you and is copying them).

If you can’t relate to any of the above reasons why you are being disrespected, I urge you to think about how it got set up for your child to treat you this way. What was your contribution to it? What is your reaction to it? What might be going on for them to make them want to treat you this way? Is there another issue going on for them that might be resulting in you being the punching bag.

The bottom line is that if disrespect is a problem in your home, that is your reality right now. It’s time to figure out why, so we can then work out what to do about it.

More on this in the Part B – Eliminating Disrespect

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

Children Want To Have An Opinion. Don’t You?

Today’s society is not like when you or I were growing up. The “children should be seen and not heard” rule doesn’t really seem to apply in today’s society. Or if it does, it seems to be to the detriment of the connection between the parent and the child.

This is because children are growing up in society that encourages them to speak up, be honest about their feelings, and that it’s okay to have an opinion.

On one hand, we encourage them to be this way, but on the other, if it doesn’t match what we believe is right we can get all riled up at times.

So are we giving our children mixed messages? Do you want them to have an opinion or not?

I think for most of us, we want to raise confident, happy children who feel free to express themselves. We just want them to do it in a respectful way.

The other day, I said to my 8 year old son Ryan:

“Ryan, you are getting to an age where you won’t always agree with me or like what I’m telling you to do. That’s completely fine and I’m open to talking to you about our differences but I won’t be spoken to rudely, nor will I speak to you when you are yelling, throwing yourself on the ground or whingeing about the problem. We need to discuss things calmly.  

It doesn’t always mean that you will get your own way, but I will explain why you can’t have your own way and why it’s in your best interests. But on the other hand, you might have an idea that I haven’t thought of and maybe you can get what you want by doing it differently. The point is that we can discuss the problem and focus on a solution, rather than fighting with each other.”

He was pretty happy with that and it set the platform for future discussions, rather than arguments. It makes him feel empowered over his life, rather than feeling like his life is being controlled and dictated.

Think about what you want in your life. Don’t you want to have your opinion heard? Don’t you want to discuss how your life is going to be run? Wouldn’t you want to know why you can’t do something you really want to do?

We need to treat our children as equals because the superior/inferior trends of the olden day parent/child relationship doesn’t suit today’s societal messages.

If you try to stick to the ‘old school’ way, it won’t be a wrong way to parent, so there’s no judgment. But it is possible that your children may not be as close to you as you would like, because they grow up to feel unheard or that their opinion doesn’t matter to you.

It is for you to decide though, how you wish to handle your child’s relationship. I’m just here to present some ideas for contemplation.

Open the communication channels…

 

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

What Are You Like To Live With?

Spinning back in time and I am observing me in the heat of arsenic hour when my kids were 2 and 3 years old.

They were whinging, clinging, the house was a mess, dishes everywhere, dinner trying to be cooked, I’m tired. I don’t want to be dealing with any of this. It’s been a long day and I’m hanging for my husband to come home to help take the load off.

Cue the telephone call from hubby.

“I’m going to be late.”  Those 5 dreaded words that no worn out stay-at-home parent wants to hear when they are so desperately needing a break.

“Oh, whatever then!” was my unappreciative, rude and short reply before I hung up in disgust, acting like he meant to be late from work. Like he didn’t give a damn about what I was going through. Doesn’t he know that I need help over here?!!!

Fast forward an hour or so and hubby walked through the door to a pissed off wife, a grunt as I handed over a child to be washed and as I continued to do the relentless amount of chores needing to be done.

What must it have been like to live with me back then? A nightmare! And my husband is not afraid to tell me so.

So today, I want you to think about what you are like to live with? If you work from home, or perhaps go to work during the day and at the end of the day you are tired, what is it like for the other people in your family to have to deal with you?

I want you to think about this because quite often, we look to others to blame them for how they are treating us and what they are doing to make us unhappy. But how often do we turn those pointed fingers back around to ourselves and see the part that we play in our relationships?

What if, today when you got home, or your partner gets home, you greet them with a smile, a ‘how was your day’, a “I really missed you today”  and a warmth that serves to mix things up a bit.

Make an effort and you might just find that those ‘feral’ times of the day, don’t have to be so feral.

Taking Responsibility,

Jackie

Drowning In Parenthood? Start Here.

Quite often I read the posts of people introducing themselves on my Live programs, and I think “Wow, you’ve got so much going on.  Where should we start first.”

So this post is to help those of you who are feeling this way about your life and parenthood.

What do you want?

A seemingly simple question, yet one that is not often answered with specifics, or if it is, it is answered as more than a wish then a serious goal or expectation.

But this by far is the most important question to ask yourself when you feel like you’re drowning, because we often get sucked into the vortex of seeing everything we don’t have.

I can tell you that there are no solutions down that road.

What is it that you want in your parenting experience?
What is it that you want in your relationships?
What sort of relationship do you want with your kids, your family, etc.?
What does the ideal work/life balance look like?
What sort of person do you want to be?

Sit down with yourself and look at every area of your life and think about what the ideal would look like. What sort of life do you want to create for yourself? What would make you happy?

When you’ve done that, ask yourself whether you have been specific about these wants. When you look at those wants, would you be able to tell that you had achieved them?  Or can you be even more specific?

Knowing what you want is the first step to changing your life, because it gives you a direction to go in.  From this point, you can then begin to focus on how to get this information, where you can find the information that will help you to get there and who can teach it to you.

Struggles in life don’t mean a failed life. They just mean you lost your direction, or you haven’t yet learnt the skills required to get you there. Don’t waste time thinking about that though, just focus on what you want and how to learn so you can get there!

Free yourself and redesign your life.

 

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

Dads experience parenthood stress too

My two children were born just 16 months apart, and when they were very young it was full on.  When my second son was born, my husband was working 60+ hours a week and couldn’t even take time off to help me adjust to two children under two years of age.

On top of that my 16 month old became clingy, I got mastitis, struggled (again) with breastfeeding and the chaos of two small children completely took me by surprise.

Mindful mum was nowhere to be seen in those days, because moody mum had taken over, taking notes of all my shortcomings and my inabilities to get organised, manage (or more so control) my two children and then not able feel happy doing it.

What’s more though, is that moody mum began to change the way she saw her husband. Steve is a great dad, he’s a fantastic husband and life partner, however at that time of my life he became the ‘help that walked through the door at 6pm’.

There was no warm and fuzzy love going on in my relationship during that time (although of course I still loved him), but among the exhaustion of lack of sleep and disliking myself so much, I felt like I had nothing left in the tank to give at the end of the night.  It was a struggle at times to even want to be intimate because after being at home all day with kids climbing all over me, or constantly on my hip, the last thing I wanted was to be touched.

I started to resent him too. Through my warped perceptions at the time he had gotten the better end of the deal. Life didn’t change much for him. He got to go to work, talk to other adults, complete his work when he wanted to without interruption, he got to eat his lunch without getting up a billion times. He got to have a beer on a Friday afternoon before he came home. He got to listen to peace and quiet in his car to and from work.

Moody mum was full of missing out.  I never got any of that. My life was dismal compared to his wonderful care-free existence……or so I thought.

Because once mindful mum came onto the scene after my breakdown and as I began to work on myself and change my mindset, I began to put myself in my partner’s shoes.

What I realised is that he was going through a transition of two young kids under two as well.  What was life like for him?

Well, he had the pressure of paying our ridiculously high mortgage and making ends meet financially. He was working hard, leaving at 5am in the morning after getting very little quality sleep because he would hear me trying to settle our newborn.  He was having to spend two hours a day driving to and from work after not sleeping well.

His work was very physical and all he wanted was to sit down of an evening and relax, but instead was greeted by his miserable wife, who would almost grunt at him when he walk in or rattle off all the crap things that happened in my day. He would walk straight into witching hour where the kids were tired and through his own exhaustion and stress of the day, he would try and squeeze in what quality time with his kids he could because he hadn’t seen or cuddled them all day (as they were still in bed when he left that morning) And finally, he often felt guilty because all he wanted was for them to go to bed so he could ‘switch off’ for the night.

Was his life really the bed of roses I’d made it out to be in my mind?  Not really. But through the lens of moody mum, it was all about me, wasn’t it?  How bad MY day had been, how tired I was, how much I needed a break.

What I began to learn as I started to work on myself and change how I was thinking was that dads experience parenthood too. Mums aren’t the only ones dealing with the challenges that come with having children, because dads are in the same boat too, it just might be in slightly different ways.

It might not appear that way sometimes, however I bet if asked the question, “How have you found the transition of becoming a parent?” or “What have you found the most difficult since becoming a dad?” that what is going on for a dad might be quite surprising.

Allowing the male partner in the relationship to also express is concerns, stresses and challenges without ridicule is important in a relationship because he will feels that his efforts are respected and acknowledged. That his partner recognises that it’s not all about her difficulties.

Communication during the early days of becoming a parent is absolutely crucial. Understanding that it’s tough for dads too (albeit in a different way) can stop all that resentment and misery that can potentially cause a rift in your marriage.

Your partner is not the enemy, you are in this together, so get rid of the right/wrong game, the missing out game and the blame game, start being compassionate and understanding and get through this transition together, because one day your kids are going to get a lot easier and you will adjust to the chaos.  You don’t want to be having to deal with grudges and long-term issues because you’ve both been so consumed with your own issues that you forgot to care for each other.

Share them, air them, and resolve them together, as this is what relationships are all about. It’s not just about you.

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again