Have you ever noticed something in your life where you have an unexpected reaction? Maybe it’s out of proportion to whatever is happening in the moment. Maybe you suddenly start sobbing in a movie and you didn’t see it coming. Or your child does something and you get completely over the top angry. Yet, as you reflect on it later, you have no idea why you were SO upset about it? I just had the experience of noticing something like this and thought I would share it with you.
I stay home with my kids. I do some different work projects, and I bring in some money, but my main focus is the kids. They’re my #1 job. It’s a struggle for most (all?) moms who are the primary childcare providers to (1) feel like others respect the fact that being a mom is a “real job” and (2) treat themselves as though they work a “real job” while they’re “just” staying home with their kids.
It isn’t a miracle cure. It isn’t a quick fix. For most families, it would take about 3 weeks to see a big change in the sleep patterns from using the story telling ideas we’re presenting. Interestingly, it is about the same amount of time that it takes using cry-it-out to change a sleep pattern without the negative consequences to the brain and the relationship.
Beata, 2 ½, had always been a restless sleeper. It was a challenge to get her to sleep each night, and once asleep she would burrow herself into the side of one of her parents. She woke up screaming inconsolably from her naps each day and many times at night, as well. Sleep training was something that her parents decided they did not want to do, but Scott and Beth were tired. More than that, they knew that Beata was probably not getting a good night’s sleep, either.
It seems that sleep-deprived parents are given two choices: cry- it-out or just wait until they outgrow it. But is there another way? Was my son’s lack of sleep more than just an inconvenience? Was he trying to communicate something to me through his night waking?
She paused for a moment. This pause was for her. She centered herself around the realization that her child was distressed and this was how he was expressing it in this moment. She wasn’t going to do what he was demanding. That would not be healthy for either of them. But she stopped what she was doing and gave him her full attention. She ignored his behavior in this moment and focused on him, her child, who was clearly having a rough time.
The challenge of being a parent today isn’t a lack of information. In fact, information overload has made parenting more challenging. Especially when you consider that the answers for your family aren’t going to come from the outside, but from within yourself. After all, who knows you and your family better? Sometimes, though, we find ourselves needing some guidance or some suggestions beyond the usual time-outs or other parenting strategies that just don’t seem to be working.
“My son refuses to help out. He isn’t very independent. He wants me to do a lot for him and so I do. But I resent it.”
It brought up a great question. How do parents navigate those situations when we need our child to help out without resorting to yelling, hitting, or threatening? How can we consciously parent through it?
“I’m so upset! He’s working completely against me. No matter what I do, he continues to speak to me disrespectfully. I’ve tried punishing him, but he doesn’t seem to care. What am I supposed to do? I want a good relationship with my son, but he’s making it impossible!”
Maybe you can relate to this mom’s struggle. She had tried all the usual suggestions, but things hadn’t improved. She had no idea what to do next. Many parents feel this way and find themselves at the end of their rope.
I’ve been there as a parent myself. I wanted to parent from a loving place, but my kid’s behaviors were driving me crazy. Like a really bad kind of crazy. I didn’t know what to do.
I did not realize what exactly made me feel so often overwhelmed by my 3 young children (a 4-year-old and 18-month-old twins), or how my actions could be impacting their behavior. I was careful from early on not to build dependence playing with me, hoping they would learn to play on their own, which was generally successful. So I was very confused about why they usually just wanted to be held, worn, or sit on my lap instead of play. It was impacting me and making feel touched out too much of the time. I couldn’t just leave them alone without supervision to get a break, and it wasn’t good for them to have a mom with no energy or patience, either. Something needed to change.