family · Intentional living

Parenting 101: Less attitude, Less stress!

Lately I have been addicted to reading peoples posts on Pinterest. I get lost in a whirlwind of information that is actually relevant to my life and how I raise my children. I have a very laid-back approach to parenting which doesn’t always work in my favour as my eldest (6 going on 17) really pushes me to my limits and plays on my weakness, which is discipline. For about the last year I have tried different approaches to break his bad habits and stop some, if not all of the bad behaviour but nothing had worked and to be honest I would just give up trying. To give you an idea of the type of behaviour I’m talking about, Its mostly not listening to instructions and cursing. Those are the two things I was struggling with and I’m definitely still in the process of changing his behaviour patterns, its only early days, but when I stumbled across this blog post on children’s behaviour and incorporated a few of the things into my approach, I was blown way by how quickly he responded.

So lets get straight to the point! 

  • Firstly, I have to point out that all children respond differently and what works for one child may not work for another, However consistency is key no matter what, so whatever method you are using, always be consistent. 
  • The change starts with YOU! In order to change your child’s behaviour patterns, you first have to look at your own. Remember monkey see, monkey do! For me personally, I have realised that my child copy’s exactly what he see’s those around him doing and because he was the only child in our family for the first few years of his life, He spent all his time with adults and very quickly picked up behaviour patterns that I am now trying to change. 
  • Be the change you want to see. Sounds easy enough, right! Sometimes as a single parent, I get so stressed out because the list of things I have to get done is overwhelming and there just isn’t enough time in the day to do it all. I have realised over the past few weeks that this is really unnecessary stress and its not healthy because while I’m focusing on how stressed out I am, My child is focusing on me. And this explains where his occasional outbursts and cuss words come from. Half of the time I don’t even notice myself doing it and thats not good enough because how can I expect my child to take responsibility for his actions if I can’t even remember mine. So, you have to start with yourself and make the changes, and again, monkey see, monkey do. Your child will begin to pick up your new habits and the old ones will eventually fade away. However in the meantime, while you are still working on yourself and your child/children, I have put together a little list of the things I am currently doing to try and break some of these behaviour patterns. 
  1. Stop labelling your child! I am guilty of this, I often will say “You’re really annoying me, Can you stop being annoying please, Why are kids/you so annoying?” and so on… I never stopped to think about how his little mind processed those words, I was just focused on getting him quiet so I could continue with whatever I was doing. Now that I am completely aware of these behaviour patterns of my own, This is the first thing I stopped doing. I replaced the negative talk with positive reinforcement and he responded to it so well. 
  2. Include your child in some of your tasks and give them their own jobs to do. The other day was a shocking day, My son was just pushing everyones buttons, including mine. We were out at the time so I packed up our stuff and took him home. He was so upset because we were meant to be going for a scooter ride that afternoon but as punishment for his behaviour I said we wouldn’t be going. I knew the rest of the day was going to be a nightmare so i decided we were going to have an early one. Then I remembered everything I had been reading about behaviour and patterns so I took a deep breath and changed my whole approach to the situation. I asked him why he was acting like this and once I had gotten his answers I asked him if he would like to make dinner tonight. He got so excited, he completely forgot about the scooter ride and went and washed his hands and starting helping make dinner. After dinner he sat in the lounge and did his drawings until it was bedtime. I was so surprised at how changing my approach impacted the outcome and turned what would have been a long grumpy night into a really pleasant afternoon. 
  3. Be spontaneous! My boys are very much outdoor kids. They both love running and swimming and pretty much anything to do with water. One of my personal goals this year is to be more active. I usually find this difficult with two kids because I can’t give them both 100% of my attention and focus on what I’m trying to do. I knew i had to find a way to get past the anxiety of dealing with the two boys and still feel like i was accomplishing something for myself. So now I like to mix it up a bit and do different activities with them. Its not something we do every day but being spontaneous and surprising the kids with fun activities really takes the stress out of the afternoon and allows me to relax while the kids play. This can be as simple as going to the park or to the pool. 
  4. Be consistent with discipline. I am someone who struggles with this, I hate smacking and I always end up hurting myself not them lol so I decided to try a new approach. I use a combination of distraction and discipline. Smacking is a last resort I use if  my distraction approach doesn’t work. Whatever method you use, its important to be consistent. I am still in the early stages of this so I will definitely do a follow up post on how I discipline and what works for my kids and I.

And that’s it. This is what I am currently doing, As i said before, I will do a follow up post in a week or two’s time and see how I’m going with the changes and what progress we have made.

Thank you for reading and Godbless x

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