Hey friends, I'm prepared to start the conversation. I understand that what I'm going to share today in this blog might feel a bit harsh. I want you to know that I share this blog with the most love and respect one can show another person. It is because I love you and your family so much, that I must discuss this topic.
The inspiration for this blog came from checking my website analytics. I can see all the people who check out my pages, read my blogs, check out my packages, and like all the posts I make on social media. I see what articles get the most clicks. Even thought I might not know exactly who it is on the other side, I know this, today's blog is written for YOU.
The lurkers. The parents who have done all the things and still find themselves battling the same battle time after time. The parents who are so passionately looking for answers to help their out of control children. The parents who are waiting for the universal sign.
This blog is for you.
THIS IS THE SIGN!!!
Today I want to share the five parenting struggles that will only get worse with time.
*trigger warning* Today, I might make you feel uncomfortable, and I understand. But I ask you trust me, growth comes from uncomfortable places.
There is a common myth: If your child is having a tantrum, you just ignore it. It's just a two-year-old thing (you know, terrible twos) when they get older, it will stop. Just give them space and time.
While often times this is one of the tactics that might seem to work, what do you do if you can no longer ignore? What happens when you can not ignore? What happens when you're at the end of your rope because you're exhausted? What happens when you finally give in to just make it stop?
Tantrums are fickle beasts, but ignoring them and waiting for your children to get older often won't stop them alone. Too often, what happens is that the tantrums will grow bigger, stronger, and you child will grow more disconnected. Parents start to feel like bad parents and children start to feel like bad children.
When parents come to me wondering why they're children are lying- it's typically a sign to me that something bigger is amiss. The trust is broken on both sides, and time is going to act as more of an accelerator than extinguisher. Perhaps the child is gaining negative attention for providing the lie. Or perhaps the child is trying to avoid the punishment, so they provide a pleasing answer to ensure they won't get the punishment. Common tactic: "You're going to get in more trouble if you lie, than if you just tell the truth." (Imagine if your boss said this line to you when you've made a critical error and your job was on the line, what would you do?)
At the beginning lying is innocent. But when a child learns that it works, they will start to employ it over and over. Again, we believe if we just minimize the lying that it will go away, but I warn: IT WILL NOT! The lying will become a coping mechanism that your child will learn to utilize to get out of all sorts of punishments.
This comes from a reformed liar. I once tricked my High School into believing I had dropped a class when I just didn't feel like going anymore. (Who knew that Oceanography wasn't all cute animals and sea life- more like chemistry and geography.) Lying for me stopped when I was an adult and felt how it truly damaged the trust of the relationships I held close. It took a long time for me to realize that I needed to give it up and start fostering trust, no matter how hard it is to fess up to mistakes.
3. Organization/Cleaning Up
Oh man, this for me is still a struggle. I wish time alone was the answer for this. I am a child of a hoarder. Growing up I was not taught how to clean up. The process of cleaning up can be tricky and overwhelming, and often when this is not taught it can become last on the to-do list. I can speak from direct experience that for me, cleaning up became more of a focus when I met my Type A husband. Oh man! The power struggle clashes we had, I'm talking EPIC BATTLES (I would throw a tantrum to try to get out of it. Wow- bearing everything today, aren't I?!)
Learning how to make cleaning a priority has been something I've needed to teach myself. Organization in general is still a struggle for me. It has led to missed opportunities, lots of frustration, and embarrassment.
I get it though, it is easier/faster/more efficient to just do it yourself. I just want to ask if you're always doing it- when will your children learn how to do it? It's not just by getting older. It takes breaking down tasks into small steps, using encouraging phrases to help them stay motivated, and boosting their confidence that they can do hard things.
4. Sibling Relationships
So, somewhere along writing this blog it has turned into a more personal share than I had anticipated. Sibling relationships are a topic all on their own. But I will speak quickly on this topic that just hoping they'll grow out of it, will never solve the poor dynamic. It will only make it worse.
Learning how to shift out of the judge, jury and executioner is what will help sibling dynamics work. Learning how to suspend comparison and look to each of your children as individuals will help you connect to each of your children.
As child four, of five, siblings dynamics are one that I feel deeply passionate about.
Want to know a startling theory- early childhood (ages 2-6) is when our personality is set. The seeds of self-worth, capability, resiliency are planted and the roots are starting to form. Time alone will only strengthen these roots. Being mindful of where those roots are growing, positive or negative, can set someone up for a life of success or life of struggle.
Learning how to nurture a growth mindset over a fixed mindset is the key to unlocking years of struggle. Learning how to look to mistakes as opportunities to learn is a total game changer.
Cognitive psychologists speculate that personality arises, in part, from the attitudes and biases expressed by the adults around them. This encompasses parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, neighbors, friends, the world around them. Being aware of how to foster the mindset in positive ways is something I work on daily as an adult, and why I take the work I do with children so seriously, because they are going to grow up and be adults one day.
And I want to help build kind adults.
I hope you leave this feeling inspired to take action, today. Time passes so slowly sometimes when we're in the thick of it. But soften the gaze and the years seems so slip by so quickly. I want to empower you to create the relationship, future, and family that you hope will enjoy Thanksgiving's together in all the years to come.
Children are extremely perceptive and take in so much of the world around them. They are receiving in information and making decisions about themselves based on the information given. Too often advice given about behaviors are ways to "make it stop" and the work I do gets to the root. Making it stop externally is easy- it's inspiring the change internally that is the fine work that I do and love doing.
I want to encourage you to think about where you want to be in 5 years. Where you want to be in your parenting journey in five years. What skills do you want them to display when they are 10, 15 and 20 years old. How can we get that started today? How much time are you willing to waste hoping it will just "get better".
Launching September 15, 2018 is my How to Build Your Kind Family course- this course is the key to receiving the information and support needed in fostering the positive pivots for your family.