Tag Archives: new parents

Parenting: How to Survive the Crazy

If you feel like you’re drowning in the ocean of parenting, you’re not alone! I meet so many parents who say they’re overwhelmed, unsure of how to discipline, or just plain tired. And as a mother of two myself, I really get it. The truth is that parenting is probably one of the most difficult jobs on the planet. Ironically, it’s also one that we’re typically least prepared for. Most parents don’t have time for an in-depth study of the ins and outs of child development and parenting skills – so I’ve put together a few survival tips to boost your sanity and help you raise solid kids.

  1. Find someone to talk to. Yes, my first tip is not even about kids per se. It’s about you. If you want to be fully present for your kids, you need to be getting your own emotional needs met too. Your person could be your spouse, friend, parent, sibling, or counselor. The important thing is that you are able to be emotionally honest and feel heard and supported.
  2. Find people to ask questions when you’re stuck. These people will probably be seasoned parents – the ones who’ve been around the block and raised well-adjusted kids. Nobody knows everything about parenting, and you’ll save yourself lots of mistakes if you just ask for a little guidance. Remember, just because you ask doesn’t mean you have to follow the advice you get. All kids and families are different and you’ll ultimately have to decide what’s best for your kid. But having perspectives from other parents really helps – plus it makes you feel less alone in your struggles.
  3. Establish routines. Kids thrive with structure because it makes them feel safe and secure. If their external world is chaotic, their internal world will feel that way too. Routines cut down on tantrums and other behavior problems. Plus, you will probably feel less crazy too!
  4. Provide a consistent, healthy diet. The fuel that you put into your kids’ bodies is so important! Good fuel helps their little brains to function correctly. Bad or inconsistent fuel can result in moodiness, behavior problems, trouble with concentration, etc. So plan regular meal and snack times, and stock up on wholesome foods.
  5. Make sure your kids get enough sleep. Beginning your day with well-rested kids will save you a world of trouble. They’ll be better behaved, more cooperative, nicer, and more fun to be around. Not to mention that sleep is essential for healthy brain development. According to the National Sleep Foundation, ages 3-5 need about 12 hours each night, ages 5-12 need at least 10 hours, and teens need between 9 and 10 hours.
  6. Establish rules with consequences, and then be consistent. Kids feel insecure when they don’t know where your boundaries are. If you’re inconsistent with consequences, they will push and test you simply because they need to make sure the boundary is still there! When you discipline, always make statements that you are prepared to follow through on.
  7. Model the behavior you want to see. Kids learn so much by what they see, so don’t underestimate the power of simply living your life in front of them. Be excited about brushing your teeth while your toddler watches. Say please and thank you when talking to your child. Use words that strengthen and encourage when speaking to your family. And if your kid is not allowed to eat in the living room, neither should you!
  8. Notice the good things about your child’s character and behavior, and verbalize what you see. It really helps to build his or her sense of identity and self-worth. Kids who feel good about themselves tend to behave better. Your connection with your kid will be better when you encourage rather than criticize. Plus, your child will feel more loved. All of these things increase the chances that he or she won’t run off course as a teenager, too!
  9. Spend time having fun with your kids. Really make an effort to plan fun activities. If you have more than one child, make sure you spend quality one-on-one time with each of them. Play is important for healthy development and creativity. Pick things that each individual child likes to do. The bond that you form with your kids will be stronger because you took the time to focus on them in a fun atmosphere.
  10. Talk about things. Anything. Everything. Do make it age appropriate, but make sure your kids don’t feel like anything is off limits even if it’s embarrassing. Start when your children are babies. Even when they can’t speak, talking to them promotes good language development. As they grow, keep an open dialogue. If any subject is off limits with you, your curious children will be talking about it and getting answers elsewhere! An environment of open dialogue also promotes healthy communication (a great life skill!) and increases trust.
  11. When you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up. None of us get it right all the time, or even most of the time. Apologize to your kids. Decide what you’ll do differently next time, and move on. A parent who knows how to admit mistakes and apologize teaches important lessons that would go unlearned if you were perfect all the time anyway.