The Parents Anonymous Group was a wealth of information; I wonder how I could ever have managed without it and the members. Here are a few quick tips that I learned in group that helped me many times:
Nothing lasts forever.
Change is inevitable… except when you have a toddler that throws tantrums and every tantrum seems to last forever.
Many members in my group went through tough situations; the operative word is through. There is a transformation in which parents get from one difficult event and moved into another, hopefully, less stressful time.
Here are a few situations that parents will (probably) get through with kids:
• Not wanting to bathe
• Throwing food
• Enjoying bodily functions like farting, picking noses and eating boogers
• Not liking the opposite sex
• Not liking siblings
• Refusing to go to school
• Eating the same food at every meal
• Saying “I hate you”
• Watching the same movie over and over
You get the message. It may not be easy and, in fact, some things can be very upsetting but nothing is forever. Chelsey once forgot how to eat and breathe at the same time and our mealtimes became chaotic for a short time.
The key for parents is this: You will not be dealing with this at prom time. Have you ever seen a 17-year-old pitching a fit getting into the limo (or the family car)? Situations will change. It may get easier or harder but it will not stay the same.
Mothers and fathers think differently.
This is how fathers get into trouble: Mothers relate to their male partners about her concerns about their child while fathers listen intently (or pretend to). The mother pauses.
Dad says to her, “So what do you want me to do?”
Mom frowns and responds, “You were not listening!”
We look at things differently. Fathers are fixers; they listen for directions or to see what the mothers want them to do. Mothers tell the dads about situations or something she has noticed with their child and she may only want to share information.
Smiling, mom says, “Robbie picked up the paper that Jill dropped and ran to return it to her.”
Mom looks at Robbie’s father and he instantly thinks he missed something (or was not listening).
Puzzled, dad says, “Yeah, so Robbie took it to her, what do you want me to do?”
There is nothing that needs to be done, nothing to be fixed. Mom noticed that their son is growing up and showing empathy; she is sharing information. When mothers (and fathers) understand this we get along much better.
Remember that the dads are the fixers and that there are times, though, when something just needs to be fixed.
You always have choices.
We cannot choose our parents, our eye color or the weather but we can make choices most everything else.
When children are young we give them choices to calm and empower them. Guess what? As adults we still have choices even though we often tell ourselves that we ‘must’ do this or ‘have to’ do something else. Pressure and anxiety come from believing we have no choices or that we are boxed in.
With choices come consequences or results of our choices; weighing consequences can help us decide which choice is best. Thinking about choices and perhaps jotting them down on paper can help erase ‘musts’ and put the power to weigh our options back into our hands.
Don’t hold on to those tips, share them with others!
PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Joel Kramer Under Flicker/CC License Original .
Jackie Saulmon Ramirez has served as a volunteer with Parents Anonymous® of New Jersey, Inc. for more than twenty years, giving and getting support. Find her blog here on her contact page.