Reminding Yourself That You ARE a Good and Capable Parent

I’ve had a terrible week. Little Cat (3) has been very hard work indeed, angry, blaming, purposefully contrary and just not very pleasant to be around at all. I have been tired, hormonal and reacting in ways which are very out of character for me. There have been moments where I felt utter despair and wanted to run away and hide.

Today I had one of those moments. I felt so stressed and angry. I couldn’t understand why he was being so very horrible to me. I stormed upstairs for a moments peace and quiet and caught sight of my book (Trust Me, I’m a Toddler) sitting on the bookshelf. Suddenly, I wanted to remember the calm and loving parent I know I am capable of being. I wanted to remember what I know deep down, to get some perspective and see the world from his point of view.

I spent half an hour reading and breathing, then I heard Little Cat crying. He was having a dispute with his Daddy (who was also very fed up) over changing the t-shirt he had been wearing for four days straight. I walked in and somehow, everything had changed. I felt calm and in control. Rather than an angry and disrespectful child, I saw my little boy, tired, and comfortable in his t-shirt, not understanding why he needed to get changed.

Somehow, I managed to get him in new clean clothes, and connect deeply with him as I did. Within 5 minutes we were looking each other in the eye and smiling with genuine affection for what felt like the first time in a week. Something big had shifted, and I no longer felt totally lost.

Sometimes, when we are going through a rough patch, it can be easy to lose your way and forget what is really important to you as a parent. It can seem like you are failing at everything, and that everything you try is wrong. At these times, the best thing you can do is to remind yourself who you really are capable of being. Maybe that means writing down your values and your best approaches to tricky situations at a time when you are feeling on top of your game, ready to refer back to in times of strife. Maybe that is calling a friend who has seen you at your best and who can help you get back on track. Or maybe it is delving into a book and remembering why you chose to parent this way, with love and respect for yourself and your child.

There is always a way back, and when you find it, it feels utterly wonderful.

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3 thoughts on “Reminding Yourself That You ARE a Good and Capable Parent”

  1. What a great article. Very insightful and important. We often become so lost in those moments when we’re frustrated and irritated, that we need help to come back and remember that we’ve got this!

  2. Thank you for sharing. I have been emersing myself in literature and vids on gentle parenting to improve the relationship with my son. I am a single mum of 2 children (1 and 6years) and am coping with the imprint their dad’s suicide has left on us as a family. My son and were constantly arguing and shouting. It was so draining. I had a parenting book based on NVC on my shelf for years and always felt that listening to needs and feelings was the right way. But somehow i found it totally hard to embody this type of parenting. Watching your clips and others has given me some positive examples how it can be applied and i experienced a massive change in our relationship AND my relationship with the world. I started to open up and really see others. I started picking litter up on the street. It was an incredible feeling. Just by being present. At the same time i feel now like having somewhat ‘lost’ that feeling and finding it hard to get back in touch and be present. It’s such a commitment, It would be nice to hear how others have made that permanent change in attitude. I so want to live in peace and connection…

    1. I think the key is that you never stop working on it. It is a lifelong practice, but the more you dedicate yourself to doing better, the easier it becomes and the less far from the track you fall each time. Keep going, you are doing wonderfully. I can’t imagine how hard the suicide must have been for you and your children, but I’m sure having a parent who wants to support them through the tough times will make so much difference to how they cope and move on positively.

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