All parents need R&R

 

Yes all parents need to Rest & Relax; however, that’s not what this blog is about. So when I say R&R I’m actually referring to Reflect and Re-evaluate.

Being a parent often triggers thoughts and memories of your own childhood experiences. Some such memories for me is being told by my parents

“Being a parent is hard work and when we took you home no-one gave us a handbook”…and

“They threw away the handbook when it came to you,” (and it was times like this when I knew I had really overstepped the line as a child!)

As a parent you will always come across something you have never had any previous experience dealing with and ask…what do I/we do now?

This is particularly difficult when you realise that your baby, child or adolescent’s behaviour is telling you something but you don’t know what!

Parenting requires you to constantly Reflect and try to understand what the meaning is behind your child’s behaviour.

This requires asking yourself a lot of questions like is my child hungry, tired, wanting attention, angry, sad, disappointed, scared, not being listened to, feeling powerless, confused, being treated unfairly…or does my child have anxiety, depression…and the list goes on…

Looking back and reflecting is important in trying to understand behaviour, as while a Band-Aid solution might help, it might not tackle the real problem.

Thus parenting also requires Re-evaluation as your child’s developmental and family needs change.

This requires asking questions like…What’s the real problem behind this behaviour? Can I do something different to help? What sort of a parent do I want to be? Do I want to parent like my parents? Or do I want to parent in a completely different way? Do I need to change my parenting? Am I the sort of parent I want to be? What changes could I make to my parenting that are more in tune with the type of parent I want to be?

Below are some parental skills and strategies that can help you to Reflect and Re-evaluate.

Do you?

  • talk and share stories
  • listen
  • problem solve together
  • play
  • attend and be involved
  • show and teach empathy
  • have fun together
  • create

These will help your child to improve their social and thinking skills: problem solve, cooperate with others, have a healthy self-esteem and be securely attached.

  • set clear limits
  • consistently follow through
  • allow your child to do things for themselves, make mistakes and learn from them
  • selectively use proportionate consequences

These will help your child to improve their responsibility and predictability.

  • ignore
  • distract
  • re-direct

These will help your child to reduce unwanted/annoying behaviours.

  • Praise
  • Encourage
  • Reward
  • Celebrate

These will help reinforce the behaviours you desire.

 

Parenting is not easy and there is no handbook as each child and family is unique…so remember to reflect and re-evaluate but also get some R&R as well!

 

John Pertl

Psychologist

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