Do you ever feel like you are all alone in this parenting thing? Like when you are at the playground and it feels like your child is the only one acting out? Sometimes another mom will give me an “I’ve been there look” and then I feel myself slowly exhale. We need that sense of community as parents — a sense of “we are all in this together.”
Nicole Schwarz is a Mom who has been there with many parents. She’s a parent coach with a background in Family and Marriage Counseling. On her online community for Imperfect Families, she shares tips and strategies to help parents.
Today she is here to talk about her top 5 insights into parenting and let us know we aren’t in this alone — we can all be imperfect together.
The cheerios pour out of the box like a tiny-donut waterfall, covering the entire table and spilling onto the floor.
In the middle of the sea of cereal is a preschooler holding an empty box.
This is the box of cereal he demanded you buy last time you took him shopping. You tried explaining that he already had 3 boxes of cereal at home, but he didn’t care.
Within an instant, he was on the floor wailing.
Embarrassed and frustrated, you picked him up, threw the box into the cart, and avoided eye contact with the staring bystanders.
What’s the best way to respond in these situations? How do you keep your cool when you feel like yelling? Will you ever be able to leave him unattended at the table long enough to grab the milk?!
Parenting is full of these little moments. Mucky, murky gray areas. Situations that leave you second-guessing.
As a Parent Coach, my job is to guide you through these challenging interactions in a way that keeps the relationship with your child strong and you feeling confident.
While there isn’t always a clear-cut answer, sometimes a few simple reminders can help you head in the right direction.
5 things a Parent Coach wishes every parent would know
Connection is Key: Kids are wired to be attached to their caregivers. They want to be noticed, listened to, understood, and supported. When this connection is strong, kids are more likely to listen and comply with less resistance. Look for opportunities to connect with each child daily — playing, reading, running around the yard, or take time to listen, observe, and be quiet together.
Kids are Immature: They are going to be forgetful, impulsive, messy, and silly. The ability to make a good choice over a not-so-good choice takes time. There’s nothing you can do to rush this process. In the meantime, focus on guiding them as they learn how to handle tricky situations, giving them grace when they mess up, and letting them try again.
Don’t Fear the Meltdown: Big emotions cause parents to shift into panic mode, which usually leads to yelling, giving consequences that don’t make sense, or giving up entirely. Meltdowns are a normal part of life with kids, unfortunately. Focus on being the calm, confident, supportive parent your child needs. If you find yourself having a meltdown of your own, stop, take a deep breath (or a break), and get your own emotions in check.
Trust Your Gut: Social media, parents at the bus stop, and even family members can give you a long list of things your child “should” be doing. Remember, you are the expert on your child. If you think your child needs additional support to thrive, seek help. Otherwise, embrace your child’s unique personality, needs, strengths, and growth areas as they develop at their own pace.
Your Own Stuff Matters: There’s a reason you’re getting upset, giving in, or over-reacting. Learning about your triggers and understanding why some things bother you more than others is an important part of parenting. Sometimes you can work through these challenges on your own, but sometimes you need the support of a friend, coach, or mental health professional…and that’s ok!
If dealing with a little spilled cereal seems like a no-brainer, just wait around a while.
It won’t be long until you are left scratching your head, wondering how such a little person can be so complex.
Thankfully, you don’t need to have the perfect response to every little infraction. You don’t need to study the research or stack your nightstand full of parenting books.
Focusing on these reminders may help you sort through the confusion and parent with confidence.
Or at least help you stay calm while you sweep up a million Cheerios.