SixThings I’ve Learned as a Mom
1. Your children are not you and won’t do things your way.
2. Kids do not like to be told what to do.
3. Nagging doesn’t help and often backfires.
4. Support does help.
5. Listening helps a lot.
6. Laughter is the best cure for stress.
During my many conversations with parents, I have discovered the consensus that for many of us, parenting is the hardest job we will ever do. We have to balance love, acceptance, and support with frustration, stress, and, in some cases, manipulation. We have to be strict, but not too strict. We have to let our kids be themselves and learn from mistakes without being a helicopter parent. We have to offer support without suffocation.
So how do we determine which supports our children need? This is where listening comes to play. The trick is to listen and show empathy and understanding (“so you feel frustrated by your workload…”, “I know it feels awful when you’re fighting with a friend…”) without offering advice unless asked.
If the problem is that your child is an emotional mess, maybe therapy is an option. If your child feels out of control with school work and homework, maybe he needs an academic coach. If he does not understand math or physics, maybe he needs a tutor. Most of the time, your children are not disorganized, time challenged, or failing a subject in order to irk you.
There are just a few months left until June. Let the small things go, enforce discipline if needed, and listen to your children’s concerns. As most of you already know, a little support can go a long way.