Saturday, February 6, 2016

5 Tips & Tricks for parents with young children

Dear parent,

I see you. I see what you do, I see how hard you work. I see what expectations you face. Life is expensive. Especially in this area where we live. And you're trying to make the best of it. Working to be able to afford just living. And then there is the other side. The recreational side of you. Trying to still spend time with friends, family, do fun activities and also try and take care of yourself and your family while doing all that. I see you. And you're doing so well juggling all of these different aspects of your life. You amaze me!

I know you are very busy. That's just what life is, busy. As a person and especially as a parent, you get busy. I understand. I just want to make sure that you still make time for what is really important. You. And your child.
So here's my advice to you, as a professional who has been working with a lot of different families with young children, for years.

It is ok to say no
You don't have to always be your child's friend. You are the parent. You deserve to say no. In fact, it will benefit you and your child a great deal to get used to you saying no. Boundaries are healthy. They will also help your child understand that they can't always get what they want. Think about how difficult it is out here for us 'in the real world', we don't get everything handed to us, it takes effort to accomplish what we want. The sooner you help your child cope with this concept, the easier it will be for them to cope later in life when things don't go as planned for them. 

Pick your battles
You have a busy life style. If both of you have a job and children, anyone can understand that life is tiring, sometimes just simply exhausting. And the last thing you want to do when you get home after work, is fight with your child, because you took the N-O-word advice to heart. I say more power to you. However, to save you,your partner and your children some much needed energy I suggest this; pick your battles. 
Take a second for yourself to take a step back and think about what fights with your child you feel strongest about. What subjects or issues push your buttons most. What are your pet peeves and where do they come from? Was it maybe something that one of your parents would always hammer on and on about? Or is it connected to one of your most important values? 
If you can figure out what the most important values are you wish to pass on to your mini-you, it will make it easier to defend yourself in situations when it comes to a fight. And quite possibly will also help you to rationalize not having to fight every other battle that comes up. 

The perfect parent doesn't exist
Expectations are high. Judgements are easily made. It doesn't feel great when you're in public and your child throws a fit. But remember, that is basically in their job description. They push your buttons and drive you to the edge of your patience when you're already exhausted. But please do yourself a favor and remember this, there is no such thing as the perfect parent. All we can really do is our best. We can ask our friends and family for advice, talk things through with our partner, and sometimes even ask the opinion of a professional. In the end, the only person who can raise your child is you. And it is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with a little person and to teach them about the world. To share your experience with them, teach them your values. Just know, that in the end, we are all just human. And just like you most likely have your doubts and issues with the way your parents raised you, the same thing will probably happen with your children. The most important notion to keep in mind is that you are doing the best you can.

Time is of the essence
If there is anything that my years working with families have taught me, it is that as a parent you can't spend enough time with your children. Because wether we like to hear it or not, raising a child is the parents responsibility. As a parent we can't expect someone else to teach our own children our values. We have to do it ourselves. Don't expect your nanny, preschool teacher, the grandparents, aunts or uncles  to raise your child for you. So spend time with your children yourself and teach them what you think is important.

Two way street 
The old stigma that children can only learn from us adults is outdated. Children aren't shaped by judgement yet, their mindset is still open, curious and playful. While you are out spending time with them, ask them questions, answer their questions. Let them experience and see the world through your eyes. Children are like little scientists. They see the world through different eyes, most things are new to them and they step into it wholeheartedly. To raise a child is a wonderful opportunity for you to look at the world like they do, renew and relive discoveries. Why would you want to pass up on an opportunity as amazing as this? Spend time with your child and learn about life. Be open, be curious, be playful. 

Children need you, your love and your time. They come into the world loving unconditionally, let us as caretakers and parents do the same for them. Let's invest our time and teachings in them. Also be willing to learn from your children. You might just learn something and be opened to a whole new world full of happiness. Enjoy.

Light and Love, 

Marjolein


Ps. For more inspiration parenting quotes, check out The Artful Parent blog here:
http://artfulparent.com/2015/07/the-best-parenting-quotes-for-parents-to-live-by.html