By nature, we all want to do our best. And when we become parents, that desire to our best, especially to do right by our kids multiplies. Now it’s not just you; there is another precious human being relying on you for their every need.
Talk about pressure!
But what I have often found is that in our effort to be the best parents we can be, we put undue pressure on ourselves to make everything perfect (or is that just me?).
Unfortunately, our best efforts can often backfire.
So, I wanted to offer a few things that I’ve picked up from both being a mom myself and coaching many moms over the years that I believe our kids secretly wished we knew.
- What they want more than anything is for YOU to be happy
Kids are fairly self-centered. It’s an important part of their development. But something that became very clear to me early on is this: As much as they want to be happy, they want US to be happy more!
You set the tone energetically for the entire family. They pick up on your emotions. Your kids will feel more comfortable and secure when they sense you are happy. Happy mom, happy child.
- They actually appreciate boundaries
In our effort to make our kids happy, we can sometimes let our boundaries slip. While they will never admit it, they gain a sense of comfort and security when you enforce boundaries. They know they can count on you. Clear, consistent boundaries create trust.
- It’s okay that you’re not perfect
Somehow we picked up the idea that it’s not okay for us to make a mistake in the eyes of our child. But when you have the courage to fail at something and be honest about it, you show them what it looks like to make a mistake. You show them that the world still goes on.
You aren’t perfect, they aren’t perfect, and mistakes will be made. When you model what this looks like, you give them the courage to take healthy risks and step out into the world.
- A little bit of humor goes a long way and can make a bigger impact than a lecture
A few weeks ago when my 12 year old son was on his way home from school, he texted me in a way that sounded disrespectful. I thought “he should know better than to speak to me like this.” Now, that could have been my response. But then I thought of something better.
Here is our text exchange:
Him: Make it
Me: Be it
He got the message, we both got a laugh out of the exchange, and now a “please” always accompanies his requests. A bit of lightness and humor can often have more impact than a “you know better than that” lecture. And it’s more fun.
- It really does make a difference if they know “why” when you say no.
I know it can be tempting to fall back on the “because I said so” or “because I’m the mom” response when your child asks why they can’t do something, especially when they continually badger you about it.
But your child will be much more accepting of the answer if they can truly understand the reasoning behind the no. Of course this approach doesn’t work developmentally at all ages, but I’ve always approached my son as if he understood way more than he probably did. And now it’s paying off.
He’s learning my motivations, my values, and how I think things through, and that understanding is teaching him valuable reasoning skills.
What if you don’t have a logical reason that you can articulate? (Note: a gut feeling CAN and SHOULD be articulated.) Then look at where the ‘no’ is coming from. If there’s no good reason, does the answer need to be no?
- When they “act up” or misbehave, it isn’t to upset you. There’s usually a deeper reason.
Whether it appears this way or not, deep down, our kids really do want to please us. When they have a tantrum or misbehave, there is usually something deeper going on.
They may be feeling stressed out (even younger kids experience stress and anxiety), they may be lacking the words or tools to express themselves, they may not know how to self-soothe and are looking for that from you, or it may just be a naturally phase of their development.
Remembering this and looking for the reason beneath the behavior can help you avoid being triggered, and instead, to approach them in a calmer, more understanding manner.
Which of these secrets resonate with you? Please share your thoughts with me by commenting below. I love hearing from you.
P.S. Would you like to learn additional ways adjust your perspective so that things go more smoothly in your home? If so, you may want to check out my Hidden Power Parenting Program. Right now, I’m offering this program at a very discounted price, but only for a little while longer.