Sunday, November 6, 2011

How do you learn how to parent?

I am feeling like a bad parent lately and not sure what to do. Juliet can be a very troublesome child and I honestly don't know how to handle her. Sometimes I feel like all I do all day is punish her. Do I expect to much of her? I don't know. If she can understand what I want her to do why does she choose to do the opposite...over & over again no matter the consequences? She throws tantrums. I feel like I can't take her out in public because I can't control her. Is it her personality or is it my parenting? I feel completely lost sometimes. How do you learn how to parent? What are good resources? There are other kids her age I observe behaving so it must be possible. I get mixed reviews from the grandparents. My parents always chastise me for not disciplining her more & letting her get away with too much. Dan's mom is always saying I'm too hard on her and that she is doing great for her age. I don't think she is the worst kid I've seen, but I'm very unhappy with her behavior and my inability to do anything about it.

I love her so much and I just want to be a good mommy to her and love her while also teaching and molding her into a good person. How do I learn how to parent?


Brandi said...

A couple of things I have learned as a parent that have helped me. #1 if you threaten to do something to do them if they do not behave, YOU MUST FOLLOW THROUGH or your children will walk all over you. Haylee understands and knows when I count, if I get to 3 she will get some kind of discipline. That is the most important, never threaten if you're not going to do it, your children will never believe you. Also, always try to react to bad behavior in the same way and in a way that you want to. That way your children know what to expect each time they misbehave. Try to avoid confusing children as much as possible. I hope that helps.

The Hojnackes said...

I haven't read any books on parenting or anything, but I will tell you some things we have done that seems to have worked.

When our kids threw tantrums (one would scream really loud instead of a tantrum) we walked away and ignored them- didn't look at them, talk to them, acknowledge them in any way. It didn't last long. Reaction of any kind is attention. I got mean comments from my mother-in-law while I was ignoring it, but my kids outgrew it within a month while her other grandkids did it for months to years.

Following through every time is important. If you threaten something, you must follow through every single time. They will pick up on just one time of getting away with something and never forget it!

Remember that your children are learning their boundaries. They push them to see where their limits are. We as parents need to set them and stick to them. It shows more love to tell them no and discipline them than to let them get their way. I remember getting an F in gym in 9th grade. My parents didn't even care. It really hurt that they weren't even the slightest bit upset by it. I know, it was just gym and I only got an F because I didn't swim during our 2 week swim course but it felt like they didn't care about me when I got an F and they didn't care.

Sitting down with your husband and coming up with boundaries ahead of time is a good idea- parent them for the future, not just the present. How you parent them as young children will develop into how you parent them as teens. It is much easier to be more strict when they are young and then loosen up when they are teens than it is to be laid back when they are little and then tighten the reigns in their teen years.

Parenting is hard. Every child is different. You actually have to parent them each a little differently from one another. Some children are just more stubborn than others. Prayer, fasting, and scripture study are great tools in making wise parenting decisions.
I hope this helps a little!

E and J said...

I'm sure you are doing better then you think you are! You are a wise parent. When I was struggling with a 3 and 4 year old (that had never had boundaries and when thier parent decided to dicipline she was grossly inappropriate) I had a therapist suggest the program 1 2 3 magic. The first tape is on dicipline, the second was on getting kids to do things you ask. Super easy system and I borrowed mine from the library. I only used it with this one set of kids. The thing is, every child is so different something that works for one family doesn't always work for the next. Listen to the spirit and you'll be lead to the right solution.

Mama B said...

All the other comments have great advice. My son is very difficult, intense and spirited (but a very awesome kid, love him!). I have felt like you do now SO MANY times. I have changed my prayers recently, from being general to extremely specific. The one person that knows our children better than we do, is our Heavenly Father. He knows what our kids need, and what will work for them. I found being very specific in my prayers have helped me to get clearer answers in how to help my son better.
We also just saw a great parenting video this weekend at some adoption training. I don't know what it was called, I will have to find out. But we loved it, and came home and started using the "listeing training" through play on Mac, it really has helped a ton already in the two days we have used it with him.

Watts Family said...

I know how you feel. I feel like I am punishing Alia all the time. She is a sweet little girl but she can do some naughty things. I am super consistent and I think it works but you will never know unless you stop being consistent. I know it gets very frustrating. I think it also gets worse as the baby gets closer and closer. I think it is even getting worse since Kylee is getting older and can do more things that Alia can. Before she had her own stuff she was the big girl and now Kylee is catching up. Just pray a lot for guidance and comfort. Our heavenly father will help us in our time of need.

Lauren said...

I love all the other comments. A book I liked is Christ like parenting. A lot focuses on teens, but still some applicable stuff. Another book and PBS series is Raising Cain, though it is geared toward boys. Gender matters has also helped me. I totally feel for you and understand where you're coming from. You are a great person and mother and I'm sure this phase will pass.

Matt and Christy said...

I think that one of the most important things to remember is that every child is different. My experiences have been wildly different with each one of my kids. One of my twins needs very strict discipline and boundaries, while Lily needed a very gentle reminder to behave. I often feel like you do, particularly now that the twins are two. I spend most of the day disciplining and redirecting, instead of enjoying my kids. I often think that I expect too much from my twins because they are large for their age and far more developed than Elijah was. I always remind myself not to compare my kids with each other or with other people's kids. Every child comes with their own set of personality traits and challenges. The key to being a good parent is finding out what works with each individual child, and then being consistant. Good luck. I hope that you figure it out and that Juliet does well with the new baby.

Jamie, Amanda, and Kids said...

Juliet must be 3 or close to it. 3 and 4 have been the ages where all of these same questions came out for me too. I learn a lot from watching other moms. Being able to watch someone you respect parent their child--through playgroups or playdates etc--allows you to see them in a fairly normal setting where you can see new ways to approach similar challenges. A parenting class is a fabulous idea--I learned a lot from the one I went to. I also loved 123 Magic. When I read it I thought I was being a very strict parent, but I realized I was really being permissive and then going crazy because I felt like my kids didn't listen to me at all. The book helped me to adjust some of my thinking about my approach to being a parent, and how I view my kids' behavior. I think reading parenting books, with lots of prayer to decipher what's true, is a good way to get information as well.

I also had an insight recently that has completely changed my life. We as humans come to earth with a desire to hear the voice of the Lord and follow Him. Babies are born also with the natural instinct and desire to hear, know and listen to their parents' voices. I do not think that just because a child gets older that that instinct vanishes, just as we still have the desire to listen to God. In short I realized that my kids really do want to hear what I say, but it's when I explain or talk too much, or too forcefully, that they stop listening. I always thought that my kids just didn't care what I had to say and that's why they weren't listening. No, I was approaching them in a way they didn't understand. It has been a very interesting change as I've tried to be more simple in my explanations and my discipline. My kids have responded to me much better than when I kept repeating myself and getting more and more frustrated.

I hope you can figure out what works for you, Dan and Juliet. Being a parent definitely has its challenges, especially when parents/in-laws give their 2 cents and it is completely opposite each other. Just remember that most advice is given because of a regret or challenge that the giver faced, not because of you or what you are doing.
God loves you and knows you want to be a good mom, He will teach you line by line what works for you and for Juliet. The fact that you are open to learning is the best thing you can do. Hugs and Best of luck!! ~A~