That little princess there is my daughter at 3.
She can go from nice to naughty (and back) in under 6 seconds flat!
She is my joy one minute and a source of abject exasperation the next.
There are times when she is very stubborn and then there are times when she is infinitely malleable.
Raising her has made me come face to face with the depth of my character and the shallowness of it. I revel in my strengths one moment and the next, I am moved to tears by my weaknesses.
At first, I used to think – this is it, this is what being a parent is all about. And I coped with it the best I could.
Every chance I got, I smothered her with love and hugs and kisses. But, I also “lost it” very often and screamed at her like only a mad person, or a frustrated mom can.
I toggled between bribing and threatening her a million times a day. I pleaded, I ordered, I begged and I demanded… all I wanted was some compliance and cooperation.
I feared the days would soon come when most of these techniques wouldn’t work. How would I raise her to be a responsible and capable person then? So I spent a heck of a lot of time looking up information that would help me fortify my parenting armory.
And during this search, I come across bits of information that suggested there is a LOT more to parenting than what I know. Schools of thought are dedicated to the idea that there is no need to punish a child, ever . Ideologies that say you could actually raise a child with respect and they would cooperate out of their own accord. Conviction that you could form a bond with your child so strong that it could withstand the tumultuous years of teenage and far beyond. That parenting is more about building character (your own as well as your child’s) than about discipline. And on and on.
All of them in the end pointed to one thing – that you have a better chance of raising a well-rounded person with a change in your own attitude and perception than with any form of “discipline technique”.
I mean, s.e.r.i.o.u.s.l.y????
“A mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” — Oliver Holmes
So, I started looking at my relationship with my daughter. Slowly, patterns started to emerge. I noticed that the highs and lows of my daughters behavior were indeed linked to my own behavior. What I said or did, and how I said or did it, seemed to have a huge impact on what she said and did.
And it started to sink in that the highs and lows of my struggle to discipline her were actually shaping her personality. My half-baked, half-assed attempts at parenting were sculpting the person she will eventually be.
I tried to change. I picked up a few positive parenting/discipline tips here and there and tried them. And they did work, more or less. But at the time of crisis, I almost always reverted back to my old style.
Because old habits die hard. And learning and implementing new ones takes time, patience and commitment.
I wanted to change, but had to do it in a way that is not overly ambitious, something that is not overwhelming and something that is sustainable over the long term.
After a lot of thinking, I decided to go with the “it takes 30 days to make (or break) a habit” idea. I decided that every month I would pick one simple skill/task/habit and try to make it a part of my life. Really, really make it a part of my life. Simple enough, but if I keep at it, eventually, I should be able to get to where I want to be. Right?
It’s been 2 years now, and I am happy to report that there has been a dramatic change in my relationship with my daughter. I still “lose it” sometimes, but I’m not the crazy, frantic parent I used to be. My daughter is still highly spirited, but her reaction to the limits I set for her isn’t as explosively rebellious as before. Raising her, and all the challenges that go with it, is now a deeply fulfilling and satisfying experience….
If you’ve read this far, I’m guessing that at least some part of my story resonates with you.
You’re not alone.
I started this blog in October 2013, after I started noticing the transformative change in my relationship with my daughter, and since then 71,000+ parents have joined this journey!
Have you ever wished you were more patient or understanding with your kids? Have you ever wanted to find ways to get them to cooperate without threats and punishment? Have you ever wanted to be completely at peace with who you are as a person and confident in your ability to raise your kids right – no matter what everyone around you says or does?
Then, boy, am I glad you found us!
What started as a blog has turned into a loosely bound community of thousands of extraordinary, everyday parents from every different walk of life…. brought together by our belief in one simple principle – great parents are made, not born. We have one mission, one goal –
To slowly get better at this parenting thing, and bring out the best person, and the best parent, hidden within each of us!
It’s a monumental journey we are on, and you will not regret being a part of this fine community!
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