Dealing with parenting challenges #fiveforfridayPosted: 14/02/2014
The best piece of advice we were given when ToddlerGirl was born was: “Remember, it’s all a phase…” We chuckled over this at the time, then a little further down the line, thought we totally got it as we dealt with sleepless nights, teething, growth spurts, developmental changes. I would say it’s only been since ToddlerGirl hit the eighteen month/two year mark, though, that I have really, truly understood the wisdom behind the words.
We face so many challenges as parents. Many of the phases have left us initially baffled. Then we somehow figure it out, or more likely just ride it out, feel like we’re back on track again – before the next one rears its head! Some of these stages are wonderful; watching ToddlerGirl grow, walk, talk, learn new skills. Some bring a bit of headscratching (for example, as we gear up to potty train). And then some just leave us scrabbling around in survival mode.
We’re right there at the moment as our ToddlerGirl flexes her muscles with us, testing her independence and boundaries. She’s stopped sleeping through the night; bedtime has become a battleground; she is flinging herself all over the place if she doesn’t get her own way, lashing out with hitting and hair pulling. We have been questioning ourselves constantly. It’s exhausting, frustrating and utterly bewildering. We are laughing at our belief that we were dealing with toddler tantrums last year; they were nothing!
So, my #fiveforfriday links this week are all about coping with some of the parenting challenges that are thrown our way. I could have doubled, tripled, quadrupled this list! But these are a handful of blog posts that have really resonated with me.
- This is a great blog post on reactive or proactive parenting styles from Childhood 101. A new phase can sometimes leave us feeling caught on the back foot but trying to approach situations in a considered, positive way really does help to make the day go more smoothly.
- Hitting (or kicking, or hair pulling, or biting) is a tough stage for parents to face. ToddlerGirl rarely lashes out at her peers but has started hitting us when she is angry and it can be hard to keep this in perspective and not take it personally! There are some useful strategies in this blog post from Taming the Goblin, Help! My toddler is hitting!
- So, we thought that we had entered the ‘terrible twos’ when ToddlerGirl was eighteen months and started tantruming. Ha! Back then, they were actually pretty easy to deal with and understand, usually triggered by hunger, tiredness or frustration at limited communication. Now, we are dealing with the testing of boundaries, the realisation that she doesn’t have to do exactly as we say. This blog post from Toddler Approved on ways to deal with toddler tantrums gives some great pointers for whatever part of the tantruming spectrum you are on; for example, now ToddlerGirl is that little bit older, I find that using humour to diffuse a situation is beginning to work for us.
- We all have those days when everything is hard and all we want to do is fling our hands up in the air, shout ‘I give up!’ and stomp off to bed for a while. Unfortunately, it’s usually not possible to hide away. But these ten ways to turn a bad day around from Moments A Day are the next best thing! I particularly like the idea of setting a timer for ten minutes to Get Important Things Done.
- I love this powerful blog post from Creative With Kids on parenting from the dark pit. I don’t think I would have truly ‘got it’ when ToddlerGirl was younger but, boy, can I relate now. It’s not always easy to stay calm, consistent, proactive, positive and all the other things we know are the best ways to be with our children. Sometimes being a parent is physically exhausting and emotionally draining. It’s not all happy times, crafts and activities but something stops us from admitting to other people when we are struggling. Just reading somebody else’s experience of these dark moments is healing, a reminder that we are not alone and not a bad mum for feeling this way sometimes.
There is also a great series on The Golden Gleam called We Get It, where various bloggers have written on specific behaviour or character traits and the challenges these can bring. It’s so helpful to see that it’s not just you dealing with these things sometimes. For me, the articles on Kids Who Touch Everything and Hyper Toddlers were godsends – I can relate to pretty much every word with my super active and inquisitive ToddlerGirl!
I hope you have found these #fiveforfriday links helpful. Happy Friday!
You might also like:
- Being the mum I should be
- The ‘shoulda woulda coulda’ of parenting
- Keeping it simple
- Ending a hard day on a brighter note