Push our children to succeed or push
them over the edge, it’s a fine line to tread?
Knowing how far to push them and when, is unique to each parent and child.
It’s something that intuitively and
instinctively we come to know, the more proactive and involved we become in
their learning and behaviour.
It’s natural we want our children to
do well at school but if we become too involved and take -over, we miss the point
of what the learning objective is.
When children are set homework
projects at school, the whole point of the exercise is for our children to
learn something by doing it themselves. Hopefully while enjoying the process as
much as they can.
As well-meaning parents, sometimes it
can be hard to let our children do this for themselves and easier for us to do
it for them.
Yes, maybe it does feel rewarding, watching our children parading our elaborate creations on the school yard?
And naturally, seeing how proud our children feel doing so, makes us feel good?
But do we want our children to feel
proud of our efforts or their own?
Teachers want to see what the children
can create and what they’ve learnt in the process, not what we are capable
Teachers also have a good understanding
of our children’s ability, more than we do. They’ll know that it’s our work not
our children’s, if we produce an artistic masterpiece or solve an almost
Of course, we can make a cardboard
dinosaur better than our five-year-old can, but where’s the fun in that, if
they have to watch us?
They don’t care how perfect it looks. It’s getting messy and having fun in the process that counts. We can still help if our children are finding something challenging, but stepping back at times maybe a good idea?
Sometimes, it can be possible to be a bit too present as parents!
But when the Sun has his hat on, then
the children want to play!
For many parents of young children,
this means sleepless or late nights, and early mornings.
ITS NOT FAIR
I remember my own two little ones
complaining at bedtime, about the children playing outside in the street, younger
And questioning me why they had to go
to bed, while the sun is still shining?
Often using guilt as their preferred
tool of triumph, protesting;
‘I don’t want to go to bed, it’s not
fair, the sun is still out.’
But I was confident that, keeping to
their bedtime routine was good for them. That’s how I managed to remain calm and
stay strong and persevere.
It was hard though, I must admit.
But had I felt guilty and uncertain, I
may have succumbed and given in, allowing them to stay up a little later?
That would have been a BIG mistake!
If we succumb to our childrens guilt
trips, and move the goal posts just once, we can expect our children to make us
move them even further the next time, as they try to find out how far they can
push things in their favour?
Guaranteed, next time, they will use
that as their trump card.
So, prepare yourself for most childrens
favourite phrase, you know, the one that makes most parents cringe in annoyance
at themselves of;
‘It’s not fair, you let me yesterday,
why not today?’
To which, no parent can ever find a
So, we either end up giving into them
once again, creating another unwanted habit, that’ll be hard to break?
Or, we become annoyed and upset with
ourselves, for giving in to them in the first place?
Resulting in a no win for us parents!
REVELLING IN THE RESULTS
That’s why, it’s best to persevere and
stay strong from the outset.
If we can persevere with routines until
we get the results we want, then life will become much easier for ourselves, as
well as our children.
Other parents and their children, (such
as those playing outside at bedtime) may take a different approach?
And that’s fine for them.
After all, they are the ones who will
be responsible for their own childrens health and well -being and managing
their own childrens behaviour.
But you will be responsible for your
children, no one else’s.
Focusing on the most beneficial, proactive
approach, that’s suitable for you and your child is always best.
This I may add, is not the easiest
approach initially. But I promise, long term you’ll be revelling in the
KEEP IT POSITIVE
It’s a good idea to keep a good
balance between, the positive reasons for following the routine, and the
negative reasons for not. This means, if our children refuse to go to bed, we
can point out the positive reasons why they should, and highlight the negatives
of staying awake.
A typical example could sound something like this;
‘Go to sleep now Sam or else you will
be too tired to play with your friends at nursery tomorrow, and that won’t be
any fun. And don’t forget that you’re going to need plenty of sleep to give you
energy, so you can climb that big climbing frame when you go to the park with Granddad
in the afternoon too! But you won’t be able to if you are too tired. And I know
you are really excited to do all that so, the sooner you go to sleep, the
quicker tomorrow will come, and you can show him how high you can climb.’
Always try to end on a positive.
This may seem like a long -winded way
‘Go to sleep!’
But it’s the quickest and most
effective way in the long run.
Highlighting the positives and negatives, encourages our children to want to follow routines, a lot more than just telling them to comply or else.
Providing an explanation helps them to
know, exactly why it benefits them and why we want them to go to sleep?
Routines then make sense.
And when they make sense to our
children, the sun may have his hat on, but our children will try to sleep
Surely, none of us would have chosen to become parents in the first place, had we thought we would end up angry, frustrated, nagging, stressed out, sleep deprived, nervous wrecks?
We become parents with
the sole intention of enjoying every moment with our children, and to love,
cherish and appreciate the joy they bring.
Ok, admittedly before our
bundles of joy arrived, we envisioned a beautifully decorated nursery, where
our new arrival would sleep like a baby, peacefully through the night.
We never thought as far
as the colic, teething, bedwetting, sleepless nights, and the crayon all over
the walls, or the bombsite a toddler
would create, in their once beautiful bedroom.
And it’s doubtful any of us could have imagined tantrums in the supermarket and brawls on the playground, as we daydreamed of building sand castles at the beach and sunny days playing in the park?
But have our children let
us down, or have we all just been naively seduced by the notion of what parenting
should be like?
The truth is parenting
can be a joyous experience full of fun times together, but like any other
relationship, it does take a lot of time and patience to build rewarding,
loving relationships with our children.
It doesn’t matter what parenting
tools or techniques we use, or how much advice we receive from others, without
enough time to devote to our children, it’s all worthless and ineffective.
The good news, however, is that it only takes time to build
those happy, healthy, and successful relationships with our children.
But we have to make the time for it.
Having too many things on
our ‘to do list’ takes our time and attention away from our children.
We would certainly all be more effective and more relaxed parents, if we did not have so many plates spinning in the air. The frustration arises, when we try to keep all those plates in the air and the inevitable happens, we drop a few.
As our children are those
closest to us, they’re naturally more loving and forgiving than anyone or
anything else in our life.
We certainly can put them off a lot easier than we can our Boss or our Tax Return. Sadly, for those reasons they are the ones who suffer the most when we are busy doing too many other things.
Even when we are spending time with our children, all too often we tend to still be thinking of past work or relationship issues, or fretting about the future, instead of concentrating on them.
Understandably with our busy schedules and hectic lifestyles, our minds can and do easily wander from the trivia of our children’s conversations or complaints, to our more pressing grown up issues.
We will all be more
efficient and effective parents though if, we learn how to streamline our commitments. For parenting to
run smoothly, we have to be organised,
but too many diaries, schedules, plans and to do lists, just keeps us
Seeing in black and white
everything everyone else wants us to do, and how much has to be done, can feel
daunting. And putting a slot in our diaries for our children’s ‘Us Time’ can
easily get lost.
The less plates we have spinning, the less breakages we are responsible for, so it’s
time to drop those ‘Time Takers’ once and for all.
Keeping one diary and one intention for the day; to be happy spending time doing what we love, with those we love most, is all we really need.
Two weeks into the New Year and all I’ve heard this week from friends, family and associates, is how low everyone is feeling.
No one is immune to worry.
We all at some time, fear the future, ruminate on the past and spend endless, sleepless nights, catastrophising. The dark of the night seems to magnify issues to monstrous proportions.
Even when there’s nothing to worry about, it worries us, and we think that something must be wrong?
I’ve been there many times.
And it feels like there’s nothing we
can do, as problems paralyse us from taking any action. This condition is known
as paralysis by analysis. It’s when we become plagued with indecision and get
caught up in a state of over thinking an issue.
Then instead of dealing with it, we
worry about it!
Parenting is a ‘Worrying Business’
And as parents there’s not only
ourselves to worry about.
When it comes to our children, we can
worry about everything and anything. As we deliberate on what they should eat,
how to deal with their unwanted behaviour and how they are progressing at
And all of this responsibility can
weigh heavy on us. Especially if we feel over whelming pressure from others,
such as teachers or spouses, adding to the problem itself
This can become a constant source of stress,
as we feel we must instantly sort everything out, the right way.
This pressure makes it difficult to see
the wood from the trees, leaving decision making impossible. But taking
decisive action and doing something, even if that action is not the right
action to take, sets the solutions to problems in motion.
When we put ourselves out there,
answers find us.
When we procrastinate or are fearful
of making the wrong choices, and take no action to solve an issue, this leads
to a lack of confidence in our own parenting abilities, preventing us from
The only solution is proactively taking
action to prevent or deal with problems, rather than Auto Pilot Parent when
things go wrong.
This empowers us to handle situations, as well as our children’s behaviour.
However, taking a proactive approach can also mean
stepping back and away from the problem itself.
When we are less involved in the
emotional side, we can start to narrow down a couple of options that we could
take. Then take assertive action.
For example, we may find ourselves
deliberating over several possible schools that we could send our children to.
When faced with such an important decision, choosing the right school could
seem more daunting than it really is.
Once we can relax, step back and think
clearly, the decision usually rests on only one of two possibilities. And that’s
the way with most problems.
It’s having the clarity to narrow
things down. Knowing that even if we make a wrong choice, we can feel reassured
that we can always change course if we are going in the wrong direction.
Being proactive eliminates doubt.
Even if it turns out we were wrong, that’s
better than not taking action and never knowing, allowing others to take the
What we find when we take this
approach is that, we can never really make a wrong decision anyway, just a
As parent’s, we need to accept that we
won’t always make the right choices or decisions all of the time.
That’s ok, because good or bad, we
can, and will learn from all of them.
As long as we keep moving, we will
make progress, and rid ourselves of this paralysis by analysis.
And by doing what we can, we can feel
confident in the knowledge that we are always doing our best.
We will then be free to relax knowing
that, we cannot control everything that happens.
But the most proactive thing we can
all do as parents, is to stop worrying about our children’s; behaviour,
education, health, happiness, safety, success or whatever else is worrying us
at the moment, and take- action to do something about it.
Start today by doing the following ‘Worry Busting’ Exercise.
This simple technique helps us to gain
a clearer perspective, alleviating a certain degree of worry straight away. Focusing
more on solutions rather than problems.
THE WORRY BUSTER TECHNIQUE
First think about something that is worrying
you at this moment regarding your child.
Now write down all the reasons why it is
worrying you? Note how worrying about it has helped the situation or how it has
made it worse?
Then work out how long you have been worrying
about it for?
Now, decide how much longer you want to keep
on worrying about it?
Next write a list of all the possible ways
that you can try to help solve the problem, or at least make it less of a
worry. Brainstorm as many ideas as you can think of, regardless how unrealistic
they sound at first.
Now choose one way that you can take- action
on the problem today.
Finally, go and take some action and do
something to change the situation now.
Can’t find a solution right now?
Then just decide to relax and step back, and
accept the way things are for now.
Clear your mind of the problem, and do
something else until a solution comes to mind. Busy yourself with chores or
exercise, and let the solution bubble away in the back of your mind, unhindered
You’ve proactively looked at the issue by
doing the ‘Worry Busting Technique’.
Now the only thing you can change, is to stop
worrying about something you cannot change. If there is nothing you can do
about it, then why waste time and energy worrying?
Worrying will not help or change
After all, most of what we worry about never actually happens anyway. Rest assured, if we are doing all that we can do right now, then there is no need to worry about anything else.
It’s a fresh New year loaded with new
and exciting opportunities.
A time to reflect on the last year and to plan ahead for the new.
Yet for most, New Year’s resolutions have usually faded before they’ve had a chance to begin, and by the second week of January, it’s back to the same old same old.
As parents we are usually tired, skint
and left cleaning up the mess from all the festivities.
But there’s one New Year’s resolution we
need to make to ourselves and keep.
U Time is exactly that, time for
‘You’ are the most important person in your
Anyone who has ever flown on an aeroplane will be familiar with the safety drill, where the Stewardess asks you to make sure you put on your own safety vest and masks, before your children’s or anyone else’s.
As parents, we should never neglect or underestimate the importance of time for ourselves, each and every day.
Whether it’s a soak in the bath
listening to a good audio book or committing to fifteen minutes of Kundalini Yoga
every morning or evening, we need to set aside time to indulge ourselves.
New Year often reeks of restraint and
less of self- indulgence, but taking care of ‘You’ is the most selfless thing
you can do as a parent. It’s a priority because if you don’t, then you won’t be
able to care for your child or anyone else.
It’s the single, most loving thing we
can do for our children.
We are their greatest asset in life,
so we must take good care of our own health and happiness. Should we become
ill, we would not be in a position to care for them.
Surely then, if only to keep us in a strong
position to take care of our children at all times, U Time is essential, and all
the motivation we need to ensure we love and care for ourselves?
We are not being selfish by taking
care of our own needs before anyone else’s. Yet many of us selfless parents
still think it’s ok to put the needs of others, especially our children’s,
before our own.
But, if we can’t stick to a simple
routine of taking time out for ourselves to relax and recuperate, then how can
we expect our children to do the same and follow their routines?
If we take care of our own needs and
wellbeing and pursue our own interests, then not only our own happiness,
health, and success will be positively affected, but noticeably our children’s