Once a month I have the opportunity to sit down with a lovely group of moms in a parlour group that we formed at the beginning of the school year. We all have kids in grade 3, and for most of us, these are our eldest children. We meet with a moderator who, in our case, is a social worker and mom of four kids/teens. She leads our group with professional insight and actionable tips. The past 7 months have been an eye-opening experience as a parent and have definitely sparked conversations with my husband about our parenting style and personal realizations for me as a mother.
My biggest discovery is that while Leo was a baby I lost control. No, my house didn’t turn into a mess and my kids weren’t left with what to eat. Rather, I was trying to juggle all three, as a working mom, so hard that I let far too many things slip through the cracks. Bad behaviour. Bad language. Too much iPad.
I’m not saying that I’m a bad mom. I don’t think I am, actually. But I do realize that in these formative years for Hannah and Alex, I didn’t give them the foundation of how to be really good people. But it’s not too late. I take comfort in knowing that I can change the way they act, think and see relationships.
the truth about parenting
The two biggest learnings I have taken away from my parlour group are:
- Parenting is a hard job.
It takes constant work, consistency, patience and determination.
- Every child should be given the opportunity be a good person.
In order to do so they have to be responsible, respectful and independent, while realizing that getting what you wants take work.
Inevitably, if we work really hard at #1, then #2 won’t be too difficult for them to achieve. The harder we work at doing our jobs properly, the easier and more natural it will be for them to come out as good citizens of the world.
so what’s next?
Now I put my foot down. I don’t give them a second chance. There is no next time because if I say something is unacceptable it shouldn’t and won’t happen again.
- I follow through.
- Screen time is limited every day of the week. (Checking out a new app suggested by friends called OurPact, ever heard of it?)
- We go outside and play together as much as possible.
- I pick our top priorities – behavioural issues that we want to fix. Once we’ve crossed one off our list we move on to the next.
- I watch what I say and do because they inevitably mirror my behaviour.
- I don’t assume they know why everything they do is bad but take the time to explain right and wrong.
- I realize that every moment is a teaching moment.
- I continue loving my kids unconditionally and keep the lines of communication open.
Sounds exhausting, right? But kids are like sponges so I’m hoping that in a matter of weeks, together with my husband, we can pull a 180 on our kids and everyone will come out on top. And deep down I know they can be better than good and are already on the road to become great little people.