“Parenting IS the hardest job in the world!”, a statement every new parent hears. Your reply would either be a simple nod or laugh but you won’t have any idea until your baby DOES come out.
I bet you were thinking, “Nah, it doesn’t sound so bad.” Once your child’s born, it means the end of your social life; no more going out on Fridays to catch up with friends. Instead, you’ll be at home tending to your baby’s needs.
You may have thought you can wake up early to go for a run! But reality is, you’ll be begging for a few minutes of sleep until your child starts crying for milk or a diaper change.
Expectation vs. Reality in Parenting
Ah! We ALL thought it’ll be easy. YOU had a vision – family vacations, fun child activities, your baby’s firsts, and many more – but it can’t always go the way you plan.
Expectation: You turn off the lights and tune up the lullaby track songs as you cradle your baby to sleep. In half hour, you’ll tuck your child to bed and sleep beside him all night.
Reality: It’s 11 in the evening and your baby doesn’t show signs of sleepiness. Even if the child sleeps, you’d wake up from the wails every few hours.
Expectation: Feeding your child vegetables and meat with ease.
Reality: Your child throws a tantrum and pushes away the food. In the end, you’ll be cleaning a LOT of wasted food.
Expectation: Your child is in the tub playing with a rubber duck while you scrub and wash him clean.
Reality: While you bath your child, you’ll get wet in the process. There will be times when your child doesn’t even want to get in!
Expectation: Saturday evening, you’re out with your friends after a tiresome week. You’d be laughing and dancing the night away.
Reality: Saturday morning, you’ll call it off because you’re still exhausted from the sleepless nights. You’d choose sleep over going out, any day.
These are some examples of the reality of parenting. Of course, it’s not always bad. There are great experiences that comes with being a parent.
· Being able to see your child for the first time,
· Observing as he explores the world – fascination through his eyes as he looks at one object to another,
· The contagious laugh of a baby,
· The peaceful face as your child sleeps on your arms, and so much more.
As the child grows up…
There will be new and challenging problems. But problems come along with great and unforgettable memories.
Let’s get to the chase, children won’t always follow what you want. As your child grows up, he’ll do what he believes is right. There’s nothing wrong with this, it shows the desire to be independent.
But what’s unacceptable is how the child stops listening to you! What’s the cause of this? Is it the need for freedom?
There’s only one cause and most parents deny it. One word: Communication. “What?! But I make sure to talk to my child!”
What’s the real reason you can’t communicate effectively? Are you…
- The “lecturer”
We’ve been a kid before, in the receiving end of our parents lectures of “don’t do this because… “.
Did it help you? Sometimes, yes! but what if your parents starts talking non-stop? You may notice yourself staring off into space or ignoring them completely.
The attention span of a child is short. So, it’s best to send out your message in less than 30 seconds. But what if it still doesn’t work? Maybe you’re the kind of parent who says…
- “No is no!”
Or any negative remarks such as, “You can’t do that!” while you raise your voice and point a finger.
Now, what’s wrong with this? If you emphasize the word, “You”, the child may feel they’re being attack or accuse of something. Remember, when you keep saying no, the person will do the complete opposite of what you want.
- Shouting is the ONLY option
Imagine: Your child’s busy playing on his phone and you call him a few times. When you start shouting, that’s enough to get his attention.
Parents resort to shouting and children listen only when you do so. Why? Because they’ve concluded that once you shout, you mean business.
- Talking to an inattentive kid
Cynthia’s busy watching a tv show in Netflix when her mom comes in and says, “Cyn, what did I tell you about your clothes lying around? Can’t you for once… “
As parents, we can’t avoid talking immediately. We believe our child’s ears would perk up on the sign of our voice. The only problem here is not getting your child’s attention first before you tell a message.
- Creating a dominant child
If your child’s used to getting their way, then it’s more likely you have a dominant child. A dominant child is an individual who only listens and do what they want.
Spoiling and giving in to the tantrums in the early stages of childhood creates this type of behavior.
- Mental Condition
Mental Health Awareness should be practice in your family. You’ve tried everything you can to make your child listen but all you get is a big NO. What does this mean? It’s better to go for a check-up, problems such as hearing conditions or some sort is present.
There are also disorders like Oppositional Defiant Disorder wherein your child NEVER listens to anyone. The child will be so energetic that it goes out of hand.
What to do?
Have you ever been in this kind of situation? You ask your child to do something and he refuses to do so. You’ll ask in a nice way but what you receive is still a no. Even if your child throws a tantrum, he will strongly say “NO!”.
“Help! Should I resort to punishment?” Do you think it’s the best option? In all honesty, punishment creates more problems. Your child will more likely be stubborn and defiant. So, what’s the alternative? Discipline.
Discipline is a more realistic perspective in parenting technique. Instead of the old-fashioned “follow what your parents want”, discipline basically teaches us to work WITH our kids.
What do you get from this?
·Being more patient
·Feel the emotional connection
·Desire to be a great example
Once you practice this, the communication will improve. Chances are, your child will be the one coming up to you and say “Mom and Dad, my day was… “, instead of you starting the conversation.
Sometimes though, the only thing your child wants is quality time. There are times when we get busy with our life – need to finish up paper works at home, preparing a meal, or crashing to bed.
Yes, you do try to converse but it’s only something casual, “how’s your day? What did you do at school?”.
Other times, your child does reach out but you don’t notice it. Ask your child this question, “Why don’t you listen to me?” Chances are you’ll here, “Because you don’t”. How’s that possible?
There are times when we do say, “Okay yes I’m listening” while you’re doing a task. What your child really wants is for you to stop what you’re doing, look at them and show interest.
How would you react if you’re talking in an important meeting and the president’s busy texting on his phone? Won’t you feel disappointed and offended? You’ve been so excited to tell your speech but all you receive is a half-hearted acknowledgement.
Well, that’s how your child feels when you choose to do something while he talks. Your child would feel he’s not appreciated enough by his own parents.
The three questions to ask yourself…
As a parent, we tend to use an authoritative tone. It’s the same expression as “Hear me roar and be frightened”. Why do we resort for something we wouldn’t want to experience? To speak in a way that’ll offend us?
The three simple questions will be enough to aid you for self-realization. Am I doing the right thing for my child? What should I improve?
- What is the reason behind my child’s behavior?
Before you start lecturing or disciplining your child, find the core of the problem. What’s causing this behavior? Why did your child went silent? Sometimes, the answer is visible but we need a simple nudge to be aware of it.
- What does my child feel?
Children are human beings, when you shout they tend to hide in a cocoon. Before you burst out your anger, try to get into your child’s shoes and ask yourself how it’d feel if you’re in the receiving end.
- What is the effect of this technique?
Punishment creates a destructive behavior, spoiling your child creates a dependent individual. But discipline makes a child mature and emotionally stable.
Sometimes, all your child needs is an ear to listen to them, hugs and kisses for comfort, and just knowing that home is where you can be “you”.