What's In It For You?
Posted: March 22, 2021
This pandemic and all the uncertainty has just been too much for so many parents. As we look at the prospect of vaccines coming into play for people of all ages, how do you stay the course until then?
Have you let go of some of the parenting you used to use, and has it caused guilt?
Have you allowed too much screen time - more guilt?
Has bedtime gotten later and later for your kids, especially your teens?
Are you exhausted from juggling work and school responsibilities?
You are NOT ALONE!
We all need to give ourselves some space and forgiveness when things feel this chaotic. You aren't a perfect anything, and a perfect parent doesn't exist.
What can Present Moment Parenting do for you during these crazy times? First, let go of some things. Let the kids take over a bit more. I think we get on "overdrive" taking care of every single thing, and we forget we gave birth to some of our help. USE your kids' creativity, let go of things being done your way, and watch them solve problems uniquely. It will be good for them and for you.
"What if I can't get them to do a thing?" is likely your next understandable question. This is where you hold a family meeting, Chapter 3 in my audio and paperback book Present Moment Parenting lays it all out, but let's go through some of it here, for the sake of expediency.
1. Invite the kids to the meeting. Say, "We're having a meeting at 4 on Saturday. Are you available then?" :-)
2. Put them in charge of where the meeting takes place, who lights a candle, who puts on music in the background, and what snack will be served.
3. Have a talking piece. The kids can make one. It can be anything they want, including a decorated paper towel roll.
4. Take turns talking - whoever has the talking piece talks, whoever doesn't listens.
5. Say what you love about being in the family. Take your time, allow plenty of time, let people pass if they don't have an idea right now.
6. End the meeting. This sets it up as fun and positive. They'll be willing to come next time.
7. Have another meeting in a few days, starting with the same routine as above. Routine creates importance and fosters predictability.
8. After the "what we love" part of the meeting, say, "We're having some issues with bedtime and screen time. I am nagging way more than I want to. I am pretty sure you don't want to be nagged; am I right? Let's come up with some rules about bedtime and screens that we can all live with. That means we keep talking until we agree."
9. Have the kids write the rules on tag board.
10. Have them make a plan for if things don't go well and how to fix that.
11. See yourself letting go of all the responsibility? That's a relief, and it's very good for the kids, as they now learn how to share the load.
12. Use do-overs when a rule is broken. They are teachable moments. Rehearse the negative scene the way it happened, and then run it again in a better way. 13. " Oops, let's have a do-over" whenever a rule is broken . Parents and kids alike do them.
Watch for more cooperation. It will be there because the kids have felt included and seen. Relax, get a little lazy - use what they used to call "benign neglect" and watch the kids fill in the blanks. It will amaze you. This is what's in it for you. More peace. More rest. More "you" time.
If you have questions about this or any other aspect of parenting kids of all ages, click here.