Parenting Resolutions – By Brandi Davis, Child and Family Coach
1. Create Boundaries: As parents we feel that it is our job to give our kids everything. That it is our job to be selfless. That it is our job to tend to the needs and wants of our kids. That’s what a good parentis right? NO!
If we give ALL to our children, what is left for ourselves? Nothing, and when there is nothing left for ourselves, we end up having nothing to give to our kids. The idea is that when we give everything to our kids it depletes us. We begin to become resentful. I mean, can’t we just pee alone just once? JUST ONCE?! Can’t we just have one full phone conversation? Can’t we sit for five minutes, just five? Yes, we can, but we must ask for it and make it clear and the first person who we must be clear with is ourselves.
What are the boundaries that we want to make clear? Do we want our iPhone to go untouched? Do we want to make dinner in quiet solitude? Do we want more physical space? Once we are clear with ourselves, we can be clear with our kids.
“I love you very much and want to give you a big hug, and then I would like to sit on this chair by myself. I need some space.”
“If you would like to use my iPhone, you must ask me and not just take it. Keep in mind I may say no.”
This may be a BIG change for you and your kids but it will change your life. You will feel more respected, centered, and energetic. You will be meeting your needs and not at the expense of your kids. They are still fed, clothed, loved, played with, but you are also getting to do the things that fulfill YOU. What a wonderful thing to model. If we give all of ourselves, all of the time, what message does that send to our kids? Is that a message that we want them to receive?
2. Use Your Calm and Clear Voice: So we have set our boundaries but what happens when our kids do not respect them? Or they are not following the rules? Or they are not listening in general? It happens. And what do we usually do? YELL. We may start out calm but we quickly melt into a red, screaming, sweating, mess. Why can’t they just listen? Really, just put your shoes on, we are going to the park for YOU. As we move into this new year, let’s toss out those yelling voices and opt for clarity. When kids are not listening, get quiet. It is a different move and will get their attention. Speak slowly, clearly, and to the point.
“This is my iPad. If you touch it without asking me and hearing YES, you will not be able to use it anymore.” I often ask, “Am I being clear?”
This can help kids focus in and if they say, NO, I will say the same thing again slower, and ask if I was clear that time. When speaking in this way you are modeling clarity. You are modeling asking for what you need and want without insults or anger. If your child does not listen or do what is asked, let the consequence do the talking, not a yelling voice.
3. Give The Gift Of Independence: If a child can do it, let them. Often times, because it is faster and easier, we do things for our kids. Dress them, clean up after them, get them things, and so on and so on. The problem is that so much of our time and energy is taken up micromanaging our kids and their tasks. We worry that if our kid takes a cup to the sink that he/she may spill some water. Ya’, know what? It could happen. And when it does he/she can get a paper towel and clean it up.
Making breakfast for your kids? Have them take out the cereal and a spoon. Have them set their place at the table. Your kids may not love this at first but once implemented they will love and value it. Your kids will feel a sense of pride because they can do so much on their own. Self-reliance is a large contributing factor to that self-esteem which we are all so concerned our kids won’t have. The other perk is that you will find more time on your hands. Sure it may take your kid 15 minutes to put their shoes on but you do not have to stand and watch while they do. You can go do something else, or nothing for that matter. It has been a while since your check your Facebook page, or emailed your friend, or had a quiet and hot cup of coffee.
So this new year feel free to make the same old resolutions OR resolve to change your family and your life. Sounds big huh? It is. Set boundaries, use a calm and clear voice, and give your kids the gift of independence and see how much lighter, energized, and happier you feel.
Brandi Davis is a professional Parenting Coach, Parent Educator, and Author of O.K. I’m A Parent Now What?. She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and be sure to catch her parenting podcasts on iTunes. The goal of Brandi’s practice is to bring respect, calm communication, teamwork, and FUN into the home or classroom. To discover all that Child and Family Coaching can bring to your family stop by her website: www.childandfamilycoaching.com.