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.
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 (http://www.complexfamily.com/book), 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 (http://www.complexfamily.com) and receive $330 worth of benefits for free!