Working out the shoulds and should nots of raising kids is not an easy task for parents. We are filled with fears and concerns about doing it the ‘wrong’ way, not being [insert any word you like] enough or that our life choices are impacting on the development of our little people.
I want you to know that YOU ARE ENOUGH, you are constantly learning and evolving as a parent which shows your commitment to Parenting – the life-long task you have chosen to undertake.
So it is time to dispel some common myths we tell ourselves as parents that can get in the way of your evolution and learning.
1. I should be able to manage on my own, it’s not that hard!
- No way!
- No parent should have to manage on their own or do ‘all the parenting’ by themselves.
- It never used to be this way! Primary Caregivers (usually Mums) are expected to do so much, just get on with it, raise perfect kids and actually function.
- It is okay to get help and support as a parent, in fact, it is a MUST.
- Building your community, finding ways to connect with others, creating a village to support you to raise your kids = vital!
2. Everyone else’s kids are better behaved than mine.
- That mother you were envious of at the cafe, (you know the one who had all her shit sorted) I guarantee you she was envious of another mother that day too!
- The only person worth comparing yourself to is YOU.
- Thinking or feeling like other Mums have it ‘all together’ or that their kids behave so well could be getting in the way of you having the confidence to be the parent you truly want to be and trust me – It is not her!
3. That discipline and punishment are basically the same.
- The meaning of the word discipline is to impart knowledge and skill – to teach.
- Whereas punishments are associated with penalty, retribution, paying a price, pain and fear.
- To focus on what we want our children to learn, the information we want them to retain and the skills we want them to develop to get by in the world – that is discipline.
- If I give my child a smack on the bum for throwing something at their sister, what is the lesson they are learning?
- If my child is really upset about something (or perhaps it looks like nothing) and I send them to their room for screaming and yelling, what skills are they learning there?
- Punishments generally teach children to ‘behave or else’
- True discipline teaches them to understand their feelings and those of others, and to learn to make a better choice in the future.
4. That being sensitive and gentle with my kids when they misbehave is ‘spoiling them.’
- being sensitive and using gentle discipline with your kids is about growing a trusting and respectful relationship with them, helping them to learn skills and make better choices AND importantly – having clear boundaries and consistently holding limits with them.
- If I am listening to my kid’s big feelings, hearing them out, holding space for them and trying to identify the needs behind their behaviour, I am not spoiling them.
- As long as I am maintaining clear boundaries, not ‘giving in’ and standing by the limits I have set, then I am teaching them and growing respect and trust at the same time.
5. That it is all too hard and I have probably already fucked them up anyway.
- NO, JUST NO!
- You are doing the best you can with the set of tools and resources available to you and I’m willing to bet that you are doing a pretty awesome job.
- Obviously, how we have managed things in the past matters, I am not trying to deny that but let us focus only on the what we can control.
- When it comes to parenting we are really only in control of one thing – Our own behaviours and actions, now and in the future.
- We cannot change the past and we cannot make other people change (not even our kids)
- We can rest assured, that making changes to our own actions and behaviours inevitably affects the actions and behaviours of others and that we can teach our kids a new normal using love, consistency and repetition.
So while Parenting is the toughest gig on the planet and discipline can be a fine art, with the right tools, help and support we can bust all the myths!
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