Is There A Perfect Parent?

Perfect Parent? Ha Not Me!

Perfect Parent? Ha Not Me!

Let me just dispel all the myths right now… “There are No Perfect parents!” From the first moment as a new parent when we hold our new born baby in our arms until they grow up and move out of the house our life will be filled with First Time Experiences. As a first time parent we are all new to the game. So, what does anyone do when they are new they make mistakes and learn from them and try, again, again and over again throughout their child’s life. Of course by the time the second child comes along (if there is a second) we have a little more knowledge and experience under our belt and can make different choices. Even then sometimes the methods that worked with one child may not work with the second.

The hardest moment in parenting to deal with is when a child is really upset or having a temper tantrum. Kids can push us beyond our limits and when you have an angry parent and an angry child sometimes not all the best decisions are made as my kids love to remind me. One time when my daughter Anya was little and totally out of control I was at a loss on how to help her calm down. Then I remembered a show I had seen where they put a hysterical person into a cold shower clothes and all to calm them down. The cold water shocked the person and chilled them out of their hysterics. I had tried everything else to no avail so thought it might work. Lets just say what works on TV doesn’t always work in reality. As soon as the cold water hit her body she totally lost it and was so mad she came out of the shower kicking and screaming then threw all her clothes and toys out of her drawers and all around her room.

What I didn’t understand at the time was what triggered her anger. She would lose control when she felt disrespected. She had already been feeling disrespected by whatever happened in the first place to upset her and the cold shower was definitely not respectful to her. After she calmed down I apologized and we talked about what we could both do differently next time.

It took some trial and error but I eventually learned what she really needed was to be heard and understood. If I could catch her before she lost control, sit with her and hear her side of the story she would feel heard and calm down. When she did lose control we found Cool Down Time worked better than cold showers. I would give her some paper and crayons or pencils in her room and ask her to draw me a picture of how she felt. She did draw some very angry pictures but it gave her a more positive way to vent her feelings and art became her escape and passion.

Anya also taught me a very valuable lesson. When disciplining a child remember, they are just like you. If you wouldn’t want to be treated a certain way yourself do not treat a child that way and if you do over react a bit like putting your child into a cold shower it is always ok to say you’re sorry after all we are only human. Sometimes it is better for you both to walk away for Cool Down Time rather than carry on. As a mom on more than one occasion I gave myself a cool down time until I calmed down enough to be able to help my child deal with their emotions.

Being a parent I guarantee you will make mistakes or if your children are older you have already made mistakes. What is important to remember is we all, even our children are doing the best we can with what we know in this moment. So be gentle with yourself and your child. When our knowledge changes through experience or parenting books or courses we will learn a different way to handle the same situation for the next time and as parents we know there will always be another opportunity to try again.

Temper Tantrum

Sometimes it's easier for mom to take a timeout...

Sometimes it’s easier for Mom to take a timeout…

Temper Tantrums – Always keep a good book in the bathroom, you never know who will be needing it.

When a child is tired and upset he or she will not always stay put for a “cool down time”.  There is no perfect way.  One time my oldest daughter Marie was four years old, way over tired and having a totally out of control crying temper tantrum.  I had tried everything I knew at the time with none of it working. Rather than duct taping her to her bed which is what I wanted to do in that moment. I locked myself into the bathroom with a book and Marie pounding and sobbing on the door outside calling mommy, mommy, mommy at the top of her lungs.  I told her as calmly as I could from my side of the door, that I would not open the door until I had heard 5 minutes of silence on the other side, then plugged my ears and read my book. I could still hear her through my plugged ears so knew she was safe but still not calm.

After about 15 minutes it was finally quiet on the other side of the door and I was able to come out and suggest (now calmer myself) that we cuddle on the couch for a bit to talk about it.  She was exhausted and curled up in my lap, we cuddled and talked now both much calmer and worked out what was happening for her. Then she wanted to go to bed. It turned out all she really needed was some time with mommy she was just too tired to express it. By taking the cool down time myself I gave her and myself the time we needed to gain control of our anger so we could work things out in a calmer frame of mind.

 

Cool Down Time – What do I do when my child is Angry?

Don’t give up. Keep trying different ideas. What works for one child does not always work for the next.  Parenting children is not a cut and dried task. You can’t put Parenting into a box a “One method for all and the child will turn out perfect idea”.

If only you could put parenting in a box....

If only you could put parenting in a box….

One thing I can tell you is, when a child is angry or having a Temper Tantrum they all need a cool down time. (Don’t we all)  How or what that cool down time looks like for each child may vary. Some children might need to be alone to cool down, others might do better with a snuggle with mom or dad on the couch. It depends on the situation and how upset the child is.

Sitting down and being curious about their feelings always worked best. In Step Parenting they teach Phrases that started with “Could it be your upset because  ________? Fill in the blank with whatever the current situation is…Max was hitting you, Mommy couldn’t play right now, We had to leave the park or whatever you think the source of the problem is. That one phrase opens the door for the child to identify and share their feelings with you and if you guessed wrong and it was maybe something that had happened earlier in the day it opens the door for them to correct you and share what was really upsetting them. Children just want to be heard and being curious is the first step to discovering what is causing their frustration.

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Disclaimer

The information on this site is based on the personal experience of the author. There are no guarantees of a perfect method to raise a child, it is all trial and error. Please feel free to try some of the suggestions on this site and let me know how you make out. If you would like to use any words or pictures from this blog please contact me for written permission. © 2013

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