The Best Parenting Advice I’ve Ever Heard
These days you can find parenting advice for just about any situation. But you’re liable to get more that’s unsolicited than helpful. Joining a Mom’s Facebook group seemed like a good idea at the time, but now you’ve got opposing opinions and you feel the pressure mounting if you don’t comply. The truth is, though everyone you meet is happy to offer their opinions and advice, no one person has your family – your family dynamic, unique personality combinations, and your children. YOU are the most knowledgeable person about what works best for your family.
But let’s be real. Even if you know your family (and your children) better than anyone, you still want input. How do I survive the toddler years? How can I take my kids to the store without losing my mind? How do I make time for fun? And the kicker – How can I ensure I’m not permanently damaging my kids?
Parenting is hard. It’s exhausting and can often feel incredibly isolating. I read my way through mounds of parenting advice and still struggled with intense feelings of failure. I was discouraged until I stumbled upon the best parenting advice I’d ever received.
Yep. That’s it.
Sounds easy, but it’s the execution that’s challenging. Simply put, “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’, and ‘no’ be ‘no’.” Consistency takes intentionality, determination, and follow-through. It takes discipline and sacrifice. But over time, I began to recognize the positive effects of consistency, not only during the toddler years but for my teenagers as well.
How does consistency work? If your child asks for a treat or a toy when you’re at the store, you, as the parent, get to decide whether the answer is “yes” or “no”. (Side note: “Yes” is fine, but “no” is too! It’s important for children to learn life lessons, like “You can’t always have what you want.”) But be prepared. Depending on the personality or temperament of your child, a “no” might signify the start of an epic battle, a dramatic meltdown, or a simple shrug of the shoulders in acceptance. Whatever the outcome, do not change your answer. Please hear me. This is important. If your child’s behavior results in a change from you – inconsistency – then you will soon find you’re bowing down to your little tyrant’s every whim and fancy and negotiating for good behavior rather than rewarding it.
It’s also okay to say, “Let me think about it.” One of my children masterfully demands answers, often when I’m busy or distracted. Once I’ve decided, I know must stay consistent to my word. But sometimes I need some time to just think and I can’t always do that on a “time crunch”. So, if the child persists, a simple reminder that the answer will be an automatic “no” usually serves to squelch his badgering. Take your time, make a decision, and stick to it!
Lastly, find some cheerleaders, or be that person, for moms everywhere who are standing in the checkout line beside a howling child. Remind them, “You’re doing a great job, Mom! Way to be consistent!”
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