Parenting can sometimes be so stressful that you feel you’re losing your mind. How to cope without venting on others or developing a victim mentality?
- Take Care of Yourself
When oxygen masks are needed, wise airplane passengers secure their own before assisting the child in the next seat. It’s become an everyday metaphor for, “If you’re too busy caring for others to keep your own self in shape, you’ll both wind up a mess.” Always save adequate time-off from parenting to allow for your hobbies, exercise, and self-pampering.
- If You Don’t See What You Need, Ask For It
Rather than silently fuming because no one offers to help carry in the groceries, speak up and ask for a hand. Children aren’t mind readers: if you don’t ask, they’ll just assume you prefer doing everything yourself.
- Encourage Self-Sufficiency
However much they fumble at first, let the kids button their own sweaters and tie their own shoes. Ten minutes saved today by taking over, will cost day after day of unnecessary work in the future.
- Have Established Boundaries
Household rules are best not made up as you go. Preferably with input from the whole family, establish clear guidelines on what can’t be tolerated, who’s responsible for what, and what constitutes “clean enough” in what rooms. Guaranteed to significantly reduce arguments.
- Be a Realist, Not a Perfectionist
Don’t demand such strict boundaries that children want to rebel at the mention of them. And don’t be a nit-picker in any other aspect of life: if you’re never satisfied, the kids will soon give up trying to please you.
- Know What’s Not Worth Arguing Over
Argument topics that can only be described as foolish and useless include:
- Which way the toilet paper roll should face
- Whether video games are a wasteful way to spend a weekend
- The latest “crazy” fad in clothing or hairstyles
Attempts to forcibly alter someone else’s tastes accomplish nothing, except to generate alienation and stress.
- Pinpoint the Real Difference of Opinion
Two bakers argued over the last four eggs. One actually wanted only the whites and the other only the yolks; but because neither understood this, each took two whole eggs; two recipes were made half-size; and half of each egg was thrown out and wasted.
Get the details behind any disagreement. There may be a more mutually satisfactory solution than “compromising.”
- Keep a Rein on Your Imagination
Mentally living through as-yet-nonexistent scenarios only generates unnecessary stress and/or disappointment. Don’t panic every time a child is five minutes late getting home.
- Know Where Your Own Responsibility Stops
Avoid blaming yourself for every mess your kids get into; trying to monitor their every move; or telling them what they should aspire to. Even as your dependents, they’re independent-minded individuals: you can’t expect to do all their thinking for them.
- Let Everyone Discover Their Best True Selves
However well (or not) your kids match the children you pictured having, they’re unique and special individuals. Appreciate them for who they are, and encourage them to develop their own interests and skills. Your family, and everyone whose lives they touch, will be better off for it.
A SANE, SENSIBLE APPROACH TO EDUCATION
When school days arrive, do you want your children just listening to lectures and getting high grades for high grades’ sake? Or would you rather they really learn, in ways that develop their natural skills and prepare them to be collaborative members of society? At Shady Oak, we take a project-based approach that emphasizes teamwork and critical thinking, with adequate attention to every individual. Contact us today to learn what we can do for your family!
Blessings to parents and children of all ages!