Dreaming In Satin
5 POWERFUL PARENTING BELIEFS
As much as I love and look forward to Summer with my girls, there is no denying that these long and humid days can be exhausting. Before you know it, you’ve ran out of ideas for what to do, kids are jumping off the walls, emotions are running high and you’ve got two months left before they go back to school. Help!
I’ve complied a list of 5 Powerful Parenting Beliefs to keep in mind as you go through your summer to remind you that these are the days to be cherished. I’ll be referring back to this list because every mama needs a reminder every now and then. A reminder that this is the season to learn together, to connect, get to know their little hearts and support them in being their best true self.
1. When kids misbehave they are communicating an unmet need
It’s easy to think that when our kids misbehave they are being brats. Once my 3 year old snapped and threw a punch straight at me in front of my friends while we were having lunch. “Woah!”, I thought. My face turned red out of sheer embarrassment. My first reaction was: This girl needs some serious discipline and straightening out. How in the world could I tolerate this kind of disrespect!?
But then I remembered: This is a kid who needs something, and she needs it NOW. Problem is, she’s not able to express it, and all I can do is help her voice her needs. What she was really trying to tell me was, “Mama I just sat through a 2 hour move, I’ve had way to much candy and I’m way to tired to sit through your lunch.”
The biggest takeaway from this scene and something I’ll keep repeating to myself over and over is this: Misbehaviour is a sign that our kids need our help in one way or another. Teaching them to communicate their needs in socially appropriate and mature ways is what toddlerhood is all about.
2. Empathy and support are the cure for negative feelings
Tis the season for boo-boos, sibling fights and constant ice-cream demands. Around the clock. But how to deal?? Empathy is your friend this summer and also, perhaps, the biggest gift we can give our kids. Why? Because empathy makes our kids feel heard and understood. Everyone, no matter how young or old, wants to be heard and understood.
It’s been a blessing to have my girls so close in age, they really are best friends. But when they fight, the claws come out and I know I’m in for a dramatic showdown. I don’t always have the perfect words to console them. In fact, half the time I’m trying to keep my own reactions in check.
Countless sibling quarrels have taught me that the real magic happens when I sit back and listen, really listen to their pain and respond with a genuine and warm response. Again, not easy. But watching as your kids slowly start forgetting what happened in the first place, calm and with renewed hope, that is why we do this.
Connection and empathy are that warm blanket we all need from time to time. When we empathize and support we are telling our kids :
I’m in it with you.
I’m not here to fix you.
I’m here to feel with you and let you know that your emotions are ok, and you’re not alone.
3. All feelings and emotions are welcomed
I’ll be the first to admit this was something that took me some time to understand. As a new parent, I lived for the smiles and laughter of my first born. I tried everything and anything to minimize unpleasant emotions and keep her happy, because who wants to see a sad or angry toddler? But we forget that true character and growth is build from our difficulties and struggles and not so much from our successes. That is why, all emotions are welcomed in my house this summer.
Growing up, I lived in a household that didn’t understand and accept negative emotions. You had to suck it up and get over yourself because these emotions were not self -serving. In my adult life I understood the power of welcoming all emotions as a way to live an authentic life.
These days I am more cautious about guiding my girls through their emotions. Of course, staying zen through every tantrum is not something I’m able to do all the time. But I try to encourage emotional honesty. “It’s OK to be angry, as long as we we don’t hit others.” “Lets talk about why you’re feeling like this.” “It’s ok to cry.”
I have learned that if we teach our children to recognize their authentic feelings, good or bad and act in a way that is consistent with their values, the challenges and rough patches in life wont topple them. They will know they have acted in accordance with what feels right, and I think this kind of self awareness is key to their well being in the long run.
4. We only have 18 summers together with our kids
Have you thought about this? Like, really thought about it? I read this quote on a friend’s Instagram post and my heart dropped. I try to remember this on the really hard days when my patience is running to the lowest of the low.
I can either let these summer days slip away, worrying about the house, work, the dishes piling up in the sink, OR I can get down on the floor and help them build that puzzle they’ve been going on about. When presented, the obvious choice is not the easiest. BUT our kid-free, summer-less, empty-nester future selves will thank us later for these tiny moments of joy.
You’ve got 18 summer guaranteed to be living under the same roof.
18 Summers of growing together instead of apart.
18 summers where you’ll create all the memories your kids will look back fondly on one day. Make them count.
5. Forgive yourself and try again.
There are days that I look back on and think there is no way other mom’s would do this. Last night I made Nutella waffles for dinner because the girls didn’t want to repeat the same lunch for dinner. And, lets be honest, my mouth was watering for waffles that night so..waffles it was. It was the yummiest dinner ever and the girls were grinning from ear to ear the whole time. BUT, the damage was done and they were running wild till about 8:30PM. My husband took them to ride their scooters later on to wind them down and I stayed behind wondering what I was thinking.
Guilt and regret will get you if you let it. Don’t let it. I prefer to forgive myself and do better. Motherhood is giving yourself grace for your mistakes time and time again. Our shortcomings don’t define us, they make us human. Ultimately my kids will know their mom is not perfect, she’s not always right either. But they’ll know she loves them unconditionally and hopefully they’ll remember that night they had Nutella waffles for dinner one summer long, long ago.