When my family is tired, our filters come down and the raw emotion flows freely.
With six, three and two year olds under the same roof it can get crazy at times.
Here are three simple techniques we use to give the kids the comfort they need and maintain our sanity.
#1 – the one-on-one play date
You’ve probably noticed that little people can struggle to play with more than one person at a time.
For play dates, and PARENT dates, we aim for one-on-one activity. This is particularly useful for the relationship between my wife and my oldest daughter. They do things together, they acknowledge that they are together and my daughter gets to choose the activity.
The conversation might go…
L: It’s not fair, you’re always spending time with the baby.
M: Well Sweetie, remember that Tuesday afternoon is YOUR day. We will be swimming together and going out to dinner where you want.
This technique won’t solve every issue but it will cut them in half, while making you feel better about your allocation of time.
#2 – is it true?
A family member screaming “you’re not giving me what I need” is an extremely effective, and painful, appeal.
Adult children, and parents of adult children, can continue to use this tactic.
As a parent, understand that the child is programmed to make the appeal and you’re programmed to feel pain.
It’s nothing personal.
But is it true?
The pain is coming from a sense that I’m not doing what I should. So I ask myself, am I giving my child what she needs? Usually, I am.
If not then am I able to give my child more? Some times things get worse (for me AND my child) as I give more of myself.
Is my child correctly identifying her issue? Most meltdowns are an appeal for love and understanding. They have very little to do with my child’s current obsession and can be overcome with a hug, recognition or the passage of time.
#3 – failure is an option
As I wrote in A Necessary Failure – the relentless demands of our children are designed to break both of us down. It’s an essential part of growing up.
Remember to hold onto the good times.
Here’s a picture of my children not fighting. It happens more often than I think!Our minds have a habit of remembering pain more than serenity.
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