6 Things Every Parent Should Remember
Becoming a mum doesn’t come with instructions, and this is positive and negative at the same time. It is hard, because we need to constantly figure out how to do things, make important decisions, and learn about our kids. But it is positive because it allows us to learn, grow, develop skills we never had before, create a beautiful connection with our children, love unconditionally, and become a better person. These are the 6 things that can help you be that better person
1. Perfection doesn’t exist
Whether you are happy or not in life, it’s all down to EXPECTATIONS. Whatever you expect from life compared to what you actually get from life will result in either positive or negative feelings. Do we want to feel sad or angry? Not really, but it’s part of life, and we should accept it because negative emotions are important too. We can’t really control how we feel about things, but we can work on how long that emotion will last.
If you change your expectations and accept that PERFECT is just not a thing, you will definitely feel better because everything will be more achievable so you will avoid stress and frustration. How do you change your expectations? With acceptance:
- Accept that things don’t need to be perfect in order to be done. Done is enough most of the time. You can always improve it once it’s done.
- Accept that, in order to achieve something, you also have to sacrifice something else. We can’t have it all at the same time. Set priorities and get started. One thing at a time.
2. They learn from their own mistakes more than from all the “I told you so”
We all learn from our own experiences, specially children as they haven’t had many first experiences yet. Once we do something, we can learn for the next time, but having someone telling us constantly “don’t do this”, “don’t do that” doesn’t really work. It just makes us feel useless and it pushes our self-esteem and confidence right down to the ground. I know it is hard to watch our kids fail or make mistakes, especially when we see them coming, but it is the ONLY way they are really going to learn. Our job is to keep them safe but we need to push those safety boundaries a bit so there is room for falling, failing, and making mistakes. It’s the biggest gift we can give our children!
3. Unconditional love is showing how much you care when they are at their worst
Children test our unconditional love on a daily basis (or on a minute basis I would say). Loving them and showing our love when they are cheerful and happy is so easy and rewarding, but showing how much we care for them and that we still love them even when they are throwing a tantrum, shouting at us, or hitting their siblings… (which is, believe it or not, when they need us the most!) that’s not so easy.
Learning to regulate our own emotions when we feel angry or frustrated is something we learn as we grow up with more experiences and better communication skills. Children will naturally struggle with self-regulation, and it is our job as parents to help them throughout this journey. Showing up and letting them know we are here for them and we love them and support them when they are dysregulated is so powerful and it will definitely pay off with their love, trust, and self-esteem as they grow older. And this brings us directly to the next point: self-care!
4. I can’t help them unless I help myself first
We can only help others if we are ok in the first place, but mum's guilt doesn’t help! Who hasn’t felt that at least once probably every day? It doesn’t matter what we do, we will always manage to find a reason to feel guilty about. It’s like a built-in feature we get the day our first baby is born. Well, I am here to tell you that mum-guilt is a good thing, so we look after our children no matter what. It brings us back to the right track, so they are looked after, but we need to remember (back to expectations) that we were humans before we were mums! And if this human isn’t in a good place, who will be? When we look after ourselves, we are directly taking care of our children just by doing so.
We are role models, children learn from us from what we do, what they see, what we show, not so much from what we tell them to do. We can ask them to be kind but, if we are not kind ourselves, they won’t be either. Do you want your kids to prioritise themselves? To be strong, capable, resilient, and confident? Then you need to be that person too so they can see it with their own eyes, it’s the only way. And you can only get there if you look after yourself. Finding time to do what makes you happy (even on your own) is an investment in your children’s happiness too.
5. They don’t always need to do what you say just because you say so
Back to perfectionism and us wanting to do it all, avoid mistakes, get things done quickly and efficiently and not letting them express their own voice because we know ours is better. But why? Just because we have an idea, or we had an experience, or we do things always the same way doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the right way to do it. Our kids are not us. They are a separate person with their own opinions, their own voice, their own struggles, and their own success.
We need to respect and support this by providing a space for self-expression. If they are watching TV and you ask them to sit down and they refuse, why do they actually need to sit down? If you bring them for a walk and they keep jumping on puddles, but you won’t let them, why are they not allowed? They will get dirty, yes, but clothes can go in the washing machine. Their need for movement, exploring, and having fun needs to be fulfilled so maybe you could negotiate something in between: “Maybe not today as we are just walking because we are going to see granny later, but how about we pack our wellies and waterproof jackets on Saturday and go to the forest to jump on all the puddles?” You are not ignoring their need and they won’t ignore yours.
6. Negotiating consequences isn’t losing the battle, it’s respecting their own rightsAs the previous example shows, when we negotiate consequences with our children we are not losing the battle by letting them decide wild and free, we are simply treating them as unique human beings with their own ideas, thoughts, emotions and opinions. We can (and should) set limits that are flexible so there is room for negotiation and everyone is happy. Everything children do, will have a consequence, whether it is positive or negative. We can talk to them about those consequences when we are setting up limits, timings, activities, and boundaries. If we practice this, it will become more natural and, as children feel like we respect them, they will also cooperate more.
For example, if they don’t want to get dressed in the morning you can ask them if they want to go to school in their pyjamas or in their uniform, it’s totally their choice. They can also choose between getting to school on time, or being late and walking in when everyone is already inside. You are giving them a choice with natural consequences, and they will learn that things need to be done to avoid negative consequences in life, not just because you said so.
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