Recently I was highly commended in The Green Parent writing competition having my article, Three Key Principles to Parenting with Heart published on the website. I was beyond excited, what a compliment, my first piece of writing to ever be published, maybe I could be a writer now! I quickly spread the news amongst my friends, getting lots of positive feedback. I basked in this and felt elated until I came down from my high and started examining what was happening at home.
In my article I had stated “I think I have finally found my parenting style!” but it no longer seemed to be working at home. I had publically stated, amongst other things, I wasn’t going to use rewards or consequences and I was going to role model calm behaviour. I continued with this but was finding it hard to be calm. I could outwardly project calm (just about!) but frustration was bubbling up inside. My children were angry in their interactions with me and each other and this was almost constant. Most of my conversations with them revolved around behaviour or directing them to get a particular task completed. There was no joy! The more angrily they interacted with me, the more angry I felt and the less I wanted to
talk and take part in activities with them.
All along, I kept thinking about what I had said in my original article. Perhaps I had got it all wrong! What must everyone think? Was I being judged? I wrote that role-modelling the behaviour you want means that children will want to behave like the adults in their life, yet this wasn’t happening at home! Maybe children do need consequences and an angry reaction to “teach” them how to behave!
Then thankfully, I realised I was in a negative downward spiral. On Facebook a friend shared 9 things to say to your kids everyday.
Amongst these 9 things I was only saying one of them each day: “I love you”. My lack of happiness was stopping me saying “I like it when you…”; “You make me happy”; “I’m proud of you”; “You are special”; “I trust you”; “I believe in you”; “I know you can do this” and “I am grateful for you”. So, my children were not receiving enough from me to help them maintain their feeling of security and self worth so the negativity continued.
So in the end, this challenge has strengthened my resolve to continue with my new found ‘Parenting Style’. I am continuing to stay away from rewards and consequences and instead talking to my children about their behaviour and how it affects others, I am trying to help them take responsibility for their own actions and to trust that they are kind and lovely
but like everyone else they make mistakes. I am trying to continue to role-model calm interactions, this remains tricky as I am human too and so also make mistakes and find things difficult at times. But, I am convinced that if I get cross and shout at them that I am teaching them this is how people should communicate. I also have decided to try and throw more fun into family life to plan and take part in activities together that are enjoyable and help us feel happy and to communicate this happiness to my children “I like it when we spend
time together”. To spend most of my time concentrating on the good and the joy and to give the anger and resentment the limited time it deserves. Wish me luck!