Effective parenting strategies in challenging times.
Resource Writing Department

Have you ever had one of those days in which everything goes wrong? The children are whining, your house is a mess, and all you need are five minutes alone? We have all been there, and more often than not, we aren’t the most effective parents during those times.

Effective parenting strategies are hard to come by when you are overwhelmed. Thinking about ways to handle your children’s needs in advance is half the battle. While you can’t be prepared for all of life’s eventualities, you will be more prepared if you have given your approach to such challenges some thought ahead of time.

Everyone has 20/20 hindsight. Oftentimes we have been faced with an upset child when we ourselves are upset. We notice only afterwards that if we had taken five minutes to listen to the child, he or she wouldn’t still be whining or at least the situation would not have escalated out of control. Many times our children just need to be listened to without offering solutions. Empowered listening without the “fix-it” attitude that we parents so often have, gives your child the support to figure it out themselves.

Profound listening means accepting what is said without judgement or a rebuttal. It means acknowledging the child’s needs and wants without necessarily giving in to them. We, for instance, do not allow our children to have sweets in the morning. Children will constantly test you through various types of behavior to see if you mean it. Remaining consistent gives the child a basis on which to rely. It gives him or hera sense of order in the world. Giving in to their whining does not serve them.

How many times have you wanted someone just to listen to you without advice? Children can only grow up to be good listeners if they themselves are listened to first.

Feeling the burden of parenthood, career, household, and friends, we parents often get lost in a swamp of complete seriousness. Learning to laugh at ourselves is a first step towards happiness. Not only do you feel better, but your children also learn to take themselves more lightly.

If you don’t have enough laughter in your life, consider learning a new game and try it out with your kids. Rent a funny video and watch it together as a family. Make up jokes and plant them where everyone in the house can read it. Buy a funny book and read it aloud to your partner. Subscribe to a discussion list that provides a daily joke. Read the funny papers!

Lighten Up
There are certain issues in my household that drive me crazy. My husband, for instance, leaves the sponge in the sink, allowing it to fester until unfriendly bacteria begin to procreate in my kitchen. Is it an issue that will make or break our marriage? Certainly not. I have learned to overlook such annoying habits and laugh about them.

Our children do things that equally annoy us. Whenever I find myself getting perpetually annoyed about an issue, I try to find creative ways to handle it. After all, it is my problem that I feel the way I do. Taking a deep breath and counting to ten, I ask myself three questions:

Is what my children are doing dangerous to themselves or others?

Does this issue truly matter in the grand scheme of things?

What other way can I look at this situation?

If I can find another way to look at it, chances are it isn’t worth getting upset over. Lightening up with a list of priorities that truly matter can soothe your nerves and create the relaxing home life that you and your children deserve.

Durham Region Critical Incident Stress Support Team

Durham Region Critical Incident Stress Support Team is a team comprised of experts in dealing with crisis induced stress and trauma.