This is something that has become my daily mantra. There are so many things not even worth fighting about with our kids, that it is only natural that you learn to take it easy and let it go. For your kids’ sake. For your own sake.
When kids have too many rules, too much is expected of them (most likely, unrealistic things), they hear too many ‘NO’s and ‘STOP’s, they start either tuning you out or fighting you back. There is only so much negativity you can take in one day from the same person. I see it from my own experience as a child when my mom expected too much, demanded too much, yelled too much when we didn’t deliver and, as a result, I started resenting everything she expected of us. Until this day, whenever she starts a sentence with “I’d like you to…” I automatically think, “No way”!
So your kid makes a mess when she eats and can’t seem to improve at all. Big deal, she is just a kid! So he can’t always pick up his toys, especially later in the day when he is tired and hungry. Big deal, he is just a kid! So they like being loud, running and jumping when you wish they just went to their rooms and played quieter. Big deal, they are children, that is what they do. You see my point? This way, when you actually want them to listen to you, especially when their safety is at stake, they will. They won’t disregard your requests because they heard a million of them already, and it is only 12 p.m. They will listen, because they know you won’t ask unless it means something to you, and they respect that. Most of the time, anyway.
My mom visited us a month ago. She had a hard time understanding my parenting style. In the end, she decided I didn’t have any, I think. I remember one particular situation when my 2 year-old son wanted to wear his raincoat when it was raining outside. Yes, it was a bit warm for that particular kind, but he really wanted to wear it. My mom wanted him to wear a different jacket. He was screaming, she kept insisting. I couldn’t take it anymore and just told her to leave him alone and let him have it his way this time. She was shocked. She asked me how many times I am going to let him have it his way until he stops listening to me completely. I smiled. She didn’t understand, not a tiny bit. I just told her I like picking my battles, and I pick the most important ones, so I just save my energy for those. And it was just a silly raincoat. JUST a raincoat! Him wearing what he picked, or us having a bad start in the day, driving him to tears, getting me stressed out, and whom would it benefit? Seriously, whom?
So, this is my parenting philosophy in a nutshell. With fewer battles to fight… there are fewer battles to fight. Or something like that.
Photo: Matteo Catanese (Flickr)