4 Tips for Calmer Days
Do You Have a Stressful House Too?
If you are a single parent like me, or you have a spouse that is inattentive, maybe they just work a alot, you are more than likely ALWAYS telling your child no or trying to resolve conflict. Not only does it make for a stressed relationship with your child(ren), it more than likely makes you feel guilty too.
I was sick and tired of being sick and tired! I love my daughter more than life, but the constant power struggle was exhausting. It was negatively affecting her and myself. We were both always angry and I was always the "rudest mom ever".
How do we, as parents, change this?
With it being just Elise and myself in the house, I'm not going to lie, we get SICK of each other. She gets fed up with me and I get fed up with her.
Yes, we really do love each other!
We really do love each other! However, when you are stuck in the same house, with the same person everyday and every night, you need a break sometimes! I know people can relate to this on more aspects than their kids. I'm sure some of you feel it about your spouses, coworkers, roommates, etc. It happens with kids as well. As much as we love them, sometimes we just don't really like them. And that's okay!!
Unfortunately, like with any other relationship, the more you get fed up with someone, the more tense and strained the relationship can be. Learning how to handle and cope with these feelings makes a world of difference.
What Works for US
There are four things I tried that made a world of difference for my daughter and me. Here are a few:
- This or That
- Reward system
- Leaving the house
These may seem basic, but they truly made a HUGE difference!
This or That
Yes, I negotiate with my child. There are many out there that have given me grief over this. "You're the parent, you decide" blah blah blah. You know what, kids want to be in control sometimes too and this is the perfect way to let them! When it's time to leave the park ask, "Would you like to leave in 5 minutes or 10 minutes?". Giving them that little bit of choice gives them control of how much longer they can play and you still get to leave when you want to. "Would you rather have spaghetti for dinner or chicken and rice?"
I know those two examples probably seem very minor to you, however when I ask my daughter these kind of questions, she is on top of the world. She thinks she is making the decision, when in reality, those are the two things I wanted for dinner and she is just making the choice for me (don't tell her that).
Kids are smart! They are going to push boundaries, they are going to ask questions, and they are going to fight with you! They are absolutely not going to want to clean their room or eat their broccoli. They're little versions of ourselves (our poor parents).
I was actually SHOCKED at how big of a difference implementing a reward system made in my daughter. She asked ME what SHE could do to help!! Who are you and what did you do with my child who threw a fit a week ago because I asked her to pick up her shoes?!
I got a white board, drew a chart, added the days of the week and what she could do to earn a mark. After that, we were on our way! She knows she has to get 20 marks in order to get something out of her 'treasure box'. Her box is a basket I got from the dollar tree that I filled with goodies. There is candy, small toys, lip gloss, anything a 6 year old girl could desire. She loves it and is always asking what she can do to earn something out of her box!!
Elise has learned our situation is not the norm. It has made for some hard conversations. We have learned a lot about each other and I have learned about the needs of my daughter.
Leaving the House/Seperating
Sometimes when Elise and I are having a rough day, I pack us up and we get out of the house. We may take a trip to the park, go grab a drink from sonic or do some needed grocery shopping. There comes times were we both need a breather and getting out of the house lets that happen. 9 times out of 10 we are both more calm and relaxed by the time we get home. If it is important, we will approach our conflict again, but if it was something minor, we move along with our day.
Occasionally though, there are times we can't leave the house. When that happens, I separate us. I may go to my room and she may go to hers. It doesn't matter which room we are in, we just need to be in separate ones. Being a single mom does bring up arguments and discussion that can be very stressful and exhausting for both us. With Elise now being in school, she has learned that our situation is not the norm and it has made her question a lot. It has made for some tense, difficult occasions that we have both needed to step away from.
I am telling you, no one has ever made me feel more guilty in my life than my daughter. Not because of anything she did, but because of how our day went. I'm the parent, I'm the one that is responsible for how our day goes. I have sat in bed crying at night trying to figure out how I let us argue over something that now seems so minor, but, even as I write this now, I have six year old laying next to me with her head under my blanket. She is giggling because she thinks she is so funny stealing it from me. It makes the guilt go away. It's ironic the one little person that is involved in me feeling guilty can also make it all go away.
We're in this Together
Even with the conflict, guilt and stress, my daughter hugs me before bed every night and tells me she loves me every morning before she goes to school. I know she's happy and I know I am being the best parent I can be while learning to be better. That's all I can hope to do.
To all of parents that feel where I am coming from, you got this. You are not alone. Don't feel guilty for having bad days. Don't feel guilty for needing to step away from you child. Parenting is HARD but we wouldn't change it for the world.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.