One of my children who shall remain nameless but for simplicity sake let’s call him Nelson 🙂 has been somewhat argumentative this last week. It’s the end of term, I get it – he’s tired. So I’m picking my battles and trying to stay lighted rather than exhausting myself fighting like cat and dog.
You see the thing is…
Nelson loves to argue (he’ll even tell you this), for him it’s like a sport and he runs rings around any win/win parenting strategy. Indeed I learn from his strength and clarity everyday.
It’s a good thing he’s so damn loveable and divine because I’ve lost count how many times I’ve thrown in the towel on “active listening” with him and simply threatened to put him on e-bay – another holistic parenting gem for you! Of an evening when I tell Nelson he is my favourite 12 year old son 🙂 we sometimes talk about the other compounding factor which is that at present – he finds it incredibly hard to apologise. So much so that at times he looks like he’s physically in pain when he says the words, “IIII’mm sssorry.”
Now I’m one for transforming habits that no longer serve us and I find this current habit of Nelson’s incredibly funny. We have talked about it, Nelson can see the lunacy of his predicament and has asked for some cues or reminders that he may like to choose differently. So multiple times now I have either:
- pretended to be hard of hearing when he apologises, smiling all the while – forcing him to repeat his blather until it’s said clearly
- or if I am sitting beside him when he’s apologising to one of his brothers I whisper so they can’t hear me, “Are you okay Nels? Did that like – burn your tongue?” or “Did you just get some vomit in your mouth when you said that? Do you need a glass of water?”
Yesterday was the highlight though…
and as it happened Nelson had had to apologise to me a number of times for random events and so by the fourth encounter he paused, smiled, paused again until I stopped him and pleaded for him to tell me if he actually had tongue paralysis. Asked him to open his mouth and show me his tongue. He whacked me hard on the shoulder, straighten up and gave me a wholehearted and sincere “I’m really sorry Mum”, not a stutter to be heard.
We all know that trying to raise self-responsible, kind hearted and mindful children is nothing short of exhausting but I’m finding that circling back to the basics, “with humour” helps me keep life in perspective.
My parenting boundaries are for the most part black and white, everything else and in between – are moving more and more towards a theme of light-heartedness and jollification (love this word).
One of the themes I talk about in Ticklish – New Ways To Help Your Child Learn, Love and Play is “Power To Parents.” In this chapter I touch on lots of ideas for staying sane but focused when parenting, here are just a few:
When you’re a jerk, apologize and learn
Even proactive parents make mistakes—we are human after all. Rather than blaming any errors on our children, we can be mature enough to admit we behaved poorly, apologize and focus on creating new habits. It is when we repeat the same mistake over and over again that we really need to ask for help and to seek out new skills and parenting tools.
Life can be way too serious, particularly if we are trying to balance life and work, the bank account and calendar events. When water is still through lack of movement it becomes stagnant, dark, dirty and smelly—much like our attitudes to life if we are not learning and growing. I don’t strive for balance anymore; instead I appreciate that life ebbs and flows. Sometimes I work around the clock and at other times I play board games until my children say, “No more!” What I strive for is parenting the best way I can, all the while making my life purpose-filled.
It’s easy to get serious when trying to juggle the daily grind. At the end of the day I like to ask myself if I had at least one special, fun moment with each of my boys—preferably more than one! If not, then perhaps I am suffering with a case of ‘stinking thinking’ or a ‘bad attitude’. Life is fragile and precious, so spend it wisely and aim to laugh frequently.
Don’t try to solve problems in the heat of the moment
If both you and your child are fighting, this is not the time to problem solve. Agree to revisit the issue when you are both calm. You can then aim to engage in ‘active listening’; whereby you each allow the other to speak and you make sure that you listen and acknowledge each other’s points of view. You’ll be amazed how solutions arise.
Don’t run away with the ball
A girlfriend of mine uses a great analogy of ‘running with the ball’ to describe how parents often react to their children’s problems; after listening briefly, we take the problem (or the ball) and run off with it by interfering, taking over and moving into ‘management mode’.
An alternative is to stop and listen to our child with active listening skills. If our child is given time to express their feelings, they will typically do one of two things; they will either come up with a clear idea about how to move forward, or they will simply let the problem go.
Listening is an amazing tool which empowers children (and adults) to problem solve independently.
Change your perspective
By this I mean stay open to new ideas and solutions. Past experiences may have been disheartening but trust that you will be guided to find the right contacts and resources that you need at each stage of your parenting.
Celebrate the fact that you are reading books such as these and that you authentically want to help your child to be their best. Only with awareness and a learning attitude can we truly support our children. Parenting in this manner is not an easy ride—there are commitments with time, finances and energy—but it is a wonderful adventure nonetheless.
All parents need inspiration at times and Ticklish makes for a great Christmas present some of the other chapters cover important topics such as:
- Why Tummy Time Is Important For Newborns
- How parents can check their babies “Head Shape” and what to do about flatten areas.
- How to Fire-Up Anti-Gravity Muscles
- “Why Doesn’t My Child Seem To Be Quite Right?”
- Signs of A Body Out of Balance
- Developmental Charts for Newborns to Seven Years of Age. Dietary advice (and even Poo Tips!)
- And lots more….
Ticklish is a really easy-to-read guide for families and practitioners with lots of tips on how to raise a well-adjusted child (from day one to early teens) including important day-to-day tips parents can follow to help their child thrive.
. . . . .
Yours in health…
Bach. Chiropractic, Bach. App Clinical Science
Registered internationally, no longer practicing as a chiropractor in Australia.