Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Being A Better Mom

It's amazing how many "disagreements" I get in with my parents about how to parent my child.  I understand that that is what parents do, and that's fine, but sometimes it goes a little overboard.  I'm sure they had it done to them when we were kids, but maybe it is time for a new generation to parent.

I parent very differently than my parents or my in-laws.  It isn't a small difference, and they know it.  The problem is that a lot of parents see you doing different things and think it is a smack on them when the truth is, your parenting style and your life in general isn't a way to judge them for how they raised you.

To me, I should always strive to be a better mom.  I can take things that my parents did when I was a child and refine them or scrap them.  That's the point of parenting.  Stagnancy isn't something I ever want to have with my children.

Being better and changing how I do things that will fit my family isn't a terrible thing.

And so, I came up with ways to be a better mom every day of the week.

1.  Truly listen to my daughter.  Talk to her, understand her needs, and for as long as she needs, make sure she has 100% of my attention.  No phone, no computer, no books, just me and her.

2.  More cuddle time!  I do still bedshare part time, so I get to cuddle then, but some days they just want you close and vice versa.  I never noticed how often that was because I was always doing something.  Now, I make time for her when she needs to feel my arms around her.

3.  Tell her I love her whenever I feel like it.  Even if she gets sick of it or doesn't respond, she hears it.  I don't want her to grow up feeling that something was missing or we didn't say it enough.

4.  Celebrate her accomplishments!  I hate saying "Good Job" when people do things because it just sounds like you weren't paying attention.  Instead, I will actually point out what she did, how she did it, let her know I truly understand and applaud her.

5.  Even if it turns into a mess, have her help with cooking or dishes.  I loved doing that with my mom, it made me feel so important!

6.  Don't say no as often.  This one may seem odd, but some days I seem to say no all day long, and it just turns into more arguments.  I am trying to do other things besides "no", and let her decide things on her own.  And the strange thing is that when she is able to decide, she normally goes with what she is "allowed" to do, and doesn't push her limits or mine.

7.  Let her be her own person.  She isn't my clone.  I don't want her to be.  I want her to make mistakes and learn from them.  I want her to know I am here for her, but I do not want to push her into things she doesn't want.

This week, we tried something new.  And amazingly, just doing a few simple things a day changed our relationship in profound ways.


Tara said... [Reply to comment]

I love the celebrate her accomplishments but not by saying "Good Job!" Have you read Alfie Kohn's Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason? It is utterly fantastic and from now on the one book I recommend, but you are right in line with him in that praise can actually make kids self-conscious and do things just for your approval. Saying you did it and how, isn't approval but being their partner. Same with saying no - we find the more we say yes, be open and thoughtfully change our minds to see our son's perspective instead of an automatic no, the less (if ever) we get a tantrum when we do say no and explain why.

And I've had the same issue with parents and in laws ("What do you mean you don't give time outs? They can be useful." , but the in-laws now keep their traps shut and my family we can have a thoughtful discussion on why we're doing things the way we are (generally they're more generous in seeing things from our view anyway - my husband's family is far more traditional. We send them in to culture shock and vice versa.)

Kayce Pearson said... [Reply to comment]

Yes, I loved that book! I actually have always hated "good job", even when I was a kid. It felt like just something to say, it had nothing to do with what I did. I just hated it, it made me not even want to do anything because then I would just get the "good job" and we would move on.

That's awesome with the family! Ours are finally starting to see, thankfully haha. I do think it comes from them feeling slighted, which sucks, and that isn't what it is at all. I just learn and go and parent how *I* want to parent that is best for my daughter. No kids are the same and you can't parent them the same way.

emma wallace said... [Reply to comment]

Such great lessons! I love this!

Post a Comment