New Year is here and January is the month of change and new beginnings of health and happiness. Let’s use this new beginning to go on a Parenting Detox and clean up some of those dusty old habits and become a better, happier you!
What do we mean by a Parenting Detox? Become aware of what is NOT working, what you are stressed or unhappy about and start to do things differently. Don’t do things that aren’t working. If something is not working, change it! Get rid of unwanted behaviour, attitude and thinking and replace it with something more positive and productive
Become aware of what is going on, what is working or not working:
Take some time to observe, reflect and become aware of who you are as a parent. What are you doing, saying or feeling that might need a detox or a change?
Do you find that you yell, nag and scream a lot? Do you spend a lot of time being a nagging martyr: ‘why do I have to do everything?’ Do you do everything for your kids, as it’s so much easier this way instead of asking them 100 times to do it and just getting an, ‘I’ll do it later’ or ‘why me?’ response. Do you spend too much time checking your phone or being on your computer (when you don’t want your kids too or might even stress you out). Do you multitask – always on the go either mentally or physically? And then end up not having time for yourself or really connecting with your kids on a regular basis? Maybe you find that you think negatively most of the time: ‘my kids don’t do this or that’, ‘I am so stressed and tired’, ‘there’s so much to get done and so little time and support from the family’. Or maybe you just worry too much? In general an unhappy, sad, stressed parent!
Bear in mind that you are your children’s strongest role model. Are you role modelling what you want your kids to copy and follow as an example?
So let’s get rid of old habits:
- Get rid of old habits: such as nagging, commanding or yelling. We can all agree that they really don’t work! And start to ‘choose’ with care what you have to say and let the rest go. Choose your battles. Less is often better and that goes for words as well. Only 8% of our communication should be words, the rest is your presence (stay connected and grounded) and tone of voice (firm and calm)! Will they really go to school without shoes if you don’t remind them 10 times?
- Get rid of negativity: as parents we have a tendency to focus on the wrongdoings of our child (and ourselves) but what we choose to focus on we will start to cultivate and grow! So let’s start using different and more positive words. What words/phrases do you need to stop using? For example: ‘hurry up’, ‘STOP it’, ‘get moving’, ‘cut it out’ etc. and replace them with more productive and positive ones, for example: ‘Please eat your breakfast so we can get to school on time, thank you’, ‘Tom, time to go to bed, please’ or ‘YES you CAN have screen time, on Friday when you don’t have to go to school the next day’ or ‘YES you CAN have sweets, on Saturday’ etc. Use YES and CAN more than NO and STOP.
- Get rid of perfection: most parents want to do their best and that often means that we end up doing too much or beating ourselves up if we don’t get it right ALL the time or get it all done. Trying to do too much or multitasking is often counterproductive anyway! And in reality we just can’t do it all so we might as well be proud of what we HAVE done and start praising ourselves for ALL the small and important things that we ARE doing. Notice when your kids are smiling, happy and well-behaved – it is because of YOU. Why not make a list every day of what you have done well today: smiled, hugged your child, said ‘I love you’, every little thing helps. Sometimes good is good enough! Even better, cut down on the daily chores and tasks that you feel you should do but really don’t have to!
And let’s start:
- Being a more creative parent: stop listening, looking and comparing yourself to other parents. Check in with yourself and follow your instincts; if it’s right for you and your family it IS the right thing!
- Laughing more: with heart and soul and your kids will do the same.
- Making time for you and your partner: Yes, how it used to be before you had kids!
- Chilling out: spending mindful time in the moment with your children; chores, emails and texts can wait till later – right now your kids are the most important thing.
- Using less words: so when we talk it makes sense and we are actually listened to!
Tools you can use during your detox:
- A book of gratitude: every night to remind you of all the things you can be thankful for in your life – I am sure there are lots, ‘choose’ to find them!
- A jar of praise: praise effort not only achievement – become your kids ‘positive spy’ and catch them at everything they are doing well, notice the positives and good behaviour. You will see it has a knock-on-effect and they are more likely to do it again and better next time!
- A box of smiles: look at your child every day and smile with your mouth and eyes – smile as you mean it!
- A bottle of love: remind them, and yourself, that you DO love them unconditionally (yes there might be times when we don’t like them, but we do LOVE them). Tell them every day ‘I love you because you are you.’ While you are at it, why not give yourself a break from the constant entertaining and worry about your kids being bored. Sometimes the best gift you can give your children is ‘the Gift of Boredom’ as it will lead to independence (as they have to manage their own time), creativity and deeper thinking. CLICK here to read more on how to ‘STOP entertaining your kids ALL the Time’.
Best Wishes from The ParentingSuccess Team xx