Monday, September 20, 2010

Do You Say "Tomorrow I'll do better", Yet by 8am You're Yelling at Your Children?

by: Jill Darcey 

Most parents put their hand up and say, "Yes, me too!" Exhausted from a day of nagging, yelling and demanding your children do things faster, better, or do something at all, you flop into bed and wish for more peace in home. With your head churning, you long for a better way to do things and hope for a little courage so you can try harder tomorrow.

While no parent is exempt from this pressure, it is especially true for those who are in a Complex Family; those who co-parent, or parent beyond separation, divorce, or some form of family breakdown. The Split Family or Broken Home places extreme pressures onto parents, and none more so than the solo parent.

Great parenting is not out of reach, it's not even that difficult — it takes one key element to lift it from mediocre to great. It requires you to be aware, or rephrased as parenting consciously. Be aware of how you handle the day-to-day mundane repetition that is your child's training ground. Every day is simply a progression of tiny moments that are all strung together over the course of 24 hours. If you feel overwhelmed, angry, resentful, or even plain exhausted, it helps to remember that the most important part of your day is right now. It's not what will happen in 10 minutes, half an hour, or even in two hours time; it's not important what has gone before you, previous days, weeks, or even years; it's only important what you decide right in this very moment.

If you get frustrated that your children seem unable to get themselves ready for school on time in the morning, choose how you will handle this repetition instead of continuing with your frustration and emotional outbursts. To yell at them, does little to lead your family in a strong and positive example; instead you reinforce to them the feelings of being out of control and powerlessness. When this becomes a daily ritual in your home, it's not surprising their behaviour will reflect this frustration.

The next time you're about to raise your voice and yell - STOP. Simply take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are the parent and it is your responsibility to lead your family.

As you climb into bed while you hold the wish for greater peace inside your home, take the time to reflect on how you might remind yourself to stop reacting and start responding to every little moment - the ones that are strung together to make up a day.

When you trip up and you hear yourself yelling before 8am in the morning in sheer frustration; don't give up — stop mid-sentence and say to yourself, "Let's try again..." In a calm, strong, and effective tone, continue to remind your children (without nagging) and do nothing more. This conscious choice encourages and empowers you for the next moment, and then the next, and next, and so on.

It helps to have practical solutions and I can give you clever strategies, and plenty of them — some of these are found inside my book — but even the most efficient and effective strategies inside a home can have negative effects if you carry them out while you harbour inner resentment, anger, frustration, or even disengagement from life.

It is most important to understand you first influence your family in every moment through who you are being, then second, through what you are doing. There is no substitute for taking responsibility for your choices in each moment and leading your children to greatness one seemingly insignificant repetitious step after another every day.

Warmest :o)

Jill Darcey

About The Author
Jill Darcey (Author, Parent, Founder & Speaker), a mother of three; thousands of hours in counseling and coaching; and more than a decade of split-family co-parenting. In Jill's book, Parenting with the Ex Factor (, she works to inspire divorced parents to 'stop drinking poison' and start constructively building the new parenting model. Parenting with an Ex? Receive a free 'Care & Routines' eBooklet today or join Complex Family for free ( and receive $330 worth of benefits for free!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Best Expert Parenting Advice Ever

What your doctor, babysitter, preschool teacher, and all the other pros in your life really wish you knew -- but wouldn't dare say to your face!
Preschool Teacher
Okay, tell us the thing you'd never say to our face.
If a parent doesn't follow my directions, I'll assume her child won't either. I give parents specific instructions -- fill out these forms by this date, e-mail instead of calling, don't put candy in your kid's lunch. As soon you break my rules, that creates an immediate bias against your child. And most teachers feel the same way. 

Ouch. What else?
The six most lethal words to a teacher at the end of class: "Hi! Do you have a minute?" We hate that. Make an appointment. Likewise, don't pretend you're in my classroom to volunteer and then try to use that time to chat about your child's progress. 

What's the biggest secret among teachers? 
Just as you have a preferred teacher you want for your kid next year, we have preferred students we want for our classrooms. How to become a preferred family? Start each school year by sending your teacher this e-mail: "Please provide me with a wish list of 10 things you would like for your classroom." She'll ask for things like Post-it notes, a chess set, a 50-cent deck of cards. When you spend maybe $20 on these items, it goes through the grapevine that you are here not just for your kid but for the entire class -- that this is the family that cares about the community, whose child is probably a team player too.

Please speak for all doctors. What is the most annoying thing we parents do? 
Overreact to the little ills of childhood. American kids are the healthiest humans who have ever lived. But their parents often fear they're one sniffle away from certain doom. So, please, have confidence that you can handle most of the little throat itches, earaches, goopy eyes, and low fevers your child has. You don't need me; you just need a little chicken soup and love. 

But what about medicine? 
As much as you want a prescription to fix everything, your kid probably doesn't need antibiotics. For example, 80 percent of ear infections go away without them. It's a dirty little secret of pediatrics that ear infections pay our bills. Doctors are nice, and sometimes we write prescriptions because we want to feel like we're doing something to help, even though you'll be fine without it. 

What's another secret? 
There's a syndrome called "Sick enough to see the doctor, but well enough for baseball." The kid absolutely must see me on Sunday, but just not until after his game. If your child is well enough for school or practice, he's really not sick enough to see me. On the other hand, if your kid is sick enough to see me, he's probably sick enough to have an adult stay home with him. I can't magically make him well enough to get back to school or daycare. 

Daycare Director
You've seen it all. Your biggest beef? 
I call it Rule-Bending Acrobatics. You have 66 reasons why your kid shouldn't have to eat what everyone else does, nap when everyone else does, and should be allowed to wear her princess costume every day. But it's really not good for her to feel like she's special in the group. Everyone has to follow the rules. 

What else would you like us to know? 
I ain't Grandma. Pick your child up on time. I love her, but I'm overworked and underpaid, and I want to get home too. 

Any advice you can't believe that you have to GIVE? 
At pickup, get off the cell phone, make eye contact, and say hello nicely. It's a long day for a little kid, and he misses you. Give him all your attention. Say, "Hi, I'm glad to see you. I've missed you today. How are you? What have you been doing?" You'll be rewarded with a kid who's less clingy and whiny all evening. 

Runner-up for most obvious advice that isn't listened to... 
Quit negotiating! If it's cold outside, don't discuss it with your toddler. Put his jacket on, for goodness' sake! 

Kids' Dentist
Most people don't like going to the dentist. Do kids know that? 
You may fear dentists, but there's no need to make your kid be afraid of them. Tell him, "You'll meet some nice people, they'll shine your teeth and count them. They'll have some neat special tools they'll show you. And at the end you'll probably get a sticker!" Don't hold him tight in the waiting room, whispering consolations. Don't call out, "Be brave!" as he walks toward the chair. That makes him think there's something terrible awaiting him. 

Don't make promises I may not be able to keep. Don't tell your kid, "The dentist won't take x-rays" or "You won't feel a thing," because it may not be true, and it undermines both parent and dentist. If he asks a question you don't know how to answer, say, "Good question, sweetie. Let's ask the dentist together." Also, it's not funny to joke with kids about having a tooth pulled. 

So how should we prepare? 
It's fine to read your child books about going to the dentist, but review them alone first. Most of them have at least one really scary picture of a dentist wielding a needle, even though three pages later everyone lives happily ever after. I had an otherwise good dentist book in my waiting room, but it had two pages that talked about yankers and scrapers, so I taped them together. 

Parenting Expert
What's one thing you wouldn't say in one of your books? 
Becoming a parent is like contracting a debilitating disease. Imagine a disease where you couldn't sleep, you couldn't have sex, you couldn't travel, you had aches and pains all the time. Now, this doesn't mean you don't love your kids. In fact, the more you love them, the harder it is. Nobody tells you what the pull of loving your kids will do to the rest of your life -- including your relationship with your spouse. Even if you had a relatively healthy sex life before kids, after the second kid it's just kind of done. There's not always as much love to go around. 

Let's say you could make one rule that no parent could violate, what would that be? 
Don't give your child an annoying name. Especially, do not name your kid after a character in a movie. Nobody wants to end up being named Morpheus because his dad was really into The Matrix. That's just plain idiotic. 

What is the worst thing parents do? 
Babysitters hate it when the mom hangs around. For example, when we're having fun and laughing, and you come in to see what we're doing, it spoils the momentum of our play. And if your kid's having a tantrum or being disciplined, don't come in either! It undermines my authority. I know it's hard to hear someone else discipline your child. If my kids were acting up with my sitter, I'd want to go see what the problem was. But trust me, or hire someone you do trust. 

Children's Entertainer
All those kids in one place! Yikes! 
It's not the kids who are rude, it's the parents. You expect your kid to be quiet when you take him to adult events. But when you go to a kids' show, you chat loudly with the other adults. You're not showing the respect that you expect from your child. I even had a woman chat on her cell phone during my whole show. Also, don't bring babies who are too young to enjoy the performance. You'll feel torn when they start to cry -- even kids don't want to listen to a sobbing baby.