Inside: 10 inspiring quotes for those really hard parenting moments to remind you to not be too hard on yourself or your child.
Parenting is perhaps one of the hardest roles we will have in our lives. Maybe it is because while our child is growing, we are growing too — all of those transitions and change means a lot of reflection and adaptation.
Often when parenting is really hard it is because we are so immersed in it — the dishes, the laundry, the big unregulated emotions from our children whose brains are still growing — that it is near impossible to take a broader view.
Yet, it is that exact ability — to take a broader view — to shift your perspective, that makes all the difference in how we experience parenting and how we react or — how we consciously respond.
Instead of questioning the way we handle things (and feeling guilty), what if we looked at those moments as our children showing us where we need to grow—raising us up. What a gift that would be.Ashley Soderlund, Ph.D.
What if we looked at those moments when we feel challenged by our kids as opportunities to grow? Research shows that there are increases in gray matter volume in the prefrontal cortex, parietal lobes, and midbrain areas in mothers postpartum. This newly developed “parental” brain is thought to help us respond to infant cues.
When we become a parent, our brains change.
When our child is born, we are born as parents.
This is a new role and with it comes newly developed parts of our brain. And we must be gentle with ourselves. We are not born knowing everything we know to be good parents. We are learning and growing right alongside our kids. Read more about brain changes after having a child here.
There is no such thing as a perfect parent so just be a real one.Sue Atkins
Our kids don’t need us to be perfect Pinterest parents — they just need us, as we are.
It’s really as simple as that. Our consistent presence in their lives, the ability to say sorry when we mess up, and to just simply be there.
You don’t have to be perfect. We’re all going to mess up at times. We’re all going to be fearful, we’re going to be grumpy. Just repair and move on.Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.
As parents, we are bound to lose our cool with our kids at some point. When we do lose our temper, it often has more to do with us than with them — our triggers, our inner voice, and our emotional baggage.
Research on attachment and interpersonal relationships shows that it isn’t about losing your temper that defines a relationship — it’s about the repair.
What you do after you yell is one of the most critical things you can do as a parent.
Own it and apologize. Repair and move on. Read more about the steps to take when you lose your temper or what to say after your yell at your child here.
We’re all imperfect parents and that’s ok. Tiny humans need connection not perfection.L.R. Knost
In “The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness,” Emily Esfahani Smith says that it is a meaningful life, rather than a happy one that leads to a true sense of well-being in life.
Meaning is already there if you look for it — if you are present to see it — it’s there in your everyday moments, in the moments you connect.
It’s there in the middle of that rambunctious afternoon when being with your kids is stressful and taxing — you let it all go and have a dance party right there in the living room.
That meaningful life full of connection — it’s already there — you don’t have to go out and do anything, buy anything, or be anything other than what or who you are right now.
An imperfect parent doing her best — looking at her child with open eyes and an open heart and saying yes. Read more about saying yes to childhood here.
Be kind to yourself. And let your kindness flood the world.Pema Chodron
One of the first things I tell parents who want to be more patient with their kids is to first be more patient with themselves.
Stop yelling at yourself with that inner voice — you know the one.
If you are stressed and tired, acknowledge that to yourself. Tell yourself it’s okay to feel how you feel. Expect that when you look inside yourself that you will see ‘negative emotions.’ That’s the key: Accept yourself and all of your emotions first. Be kind to yourself.
Read more about 10 ways to stop yelling at your kids here. SaveSave
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.Viktor Frankl
There is such a powerful space between what happens in the world and your reaction to it. That space — that pause — is the key to taking control of your response and your mental space — making your mind a nice place to be.
You and your child will benefit from conscious responses from you instead of automatic reactions. This is the essence of mindful parenting.
Be the calm you want to see in your child.Renee Jain
Let’s face it — when it comes to the child-parent relationship, there is one person who has mature self-control and one smaller person with considerably less self-control.
The result is that as a parent, we not only have to regulate ourselves, but we also have to help our kids regulate.
Depending on age, temperament, and what’s going on in their life our kids are not yet well-equipped to handle disappointment, and frustration, be able to calm down, focus on a goal, evaluate options or make well-thought-out decisions.
But we are — we are the ones who can model for our kids how to have emotions, accept them, and move through them. Read more about that here.
Do the best you can do until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.Maya Angelou
Be gentle with yourself as you develop and grow as a parent. We learn from our mistakes — if we allow ourselves to learn. If we beat ourselves up with endless guilt we don’t see how we can grow.
Allow yourself to make mistakes and allow yourself to learn from those mistakes. Open yourself up to doing better the next time around. Open yourself up to growth!
Related Resource: Get Started with Positive Parenting Today: 10 Tips From a Developmental Psychologist
While we try to teach our children about life, our children teach us what life is all about.Angela Schwindt
When our kids are born, we are reborn as parents. We grow and develop right alongside our children. We are not meant to know everything or how to do everything as a parent and that is okay. Let the guilt go and instead let yourself grow and thrive.
Think of the last time your child tried your patience. Talk about a teachable moment, huh? It seems like our kids have a knack for finding our weak spots, which happen to be exactly where we need to grow.
All of those moments where you are checking yourself, regulating, taking a breath– those are your lessons and your chances to grow.
That is not to say we handle those trying situations perfectly (I sure don’t!). But, we try to reflect on them and try to learn from them.
Zen parents aren’t born, self-regulation is not a skill to master or an inherent trait, but rather a journey within ourselves that can always grow, change, and adapt.Ashley Soderlund, Ph.D.
Just remember, this is a journey, not a destination– one we parents are all on together.
If you see me in the preschool parking lot calmly handling my son’s breakdown, applaud me! If you see me flustered and frazzled, sympathize. I promise I’ll do the same for you.