Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Conscious parenting

Image from here
I found myself in the 'parenting' section of the library on my last trip. It was strangely familiar to me.

When I had Nugget, I read every parenting book that was written*. I lapped up every theory on sleep, feeding, discipline and play in children I could find. The poor kid was monitored every second of the day.

I had another spell with the books when the toddler tantrums hit for the first season at our place. While all the kids love(d) a good tantrum, Nugget received the Best Actor Award for his superb efforts in 2007, followed by the 2011 performances by Minx (who is showing promise for a long career).

In addition to the books, The Super Nanny got a work out, as did the House of the Tiny Tearaways. We learnt to ignore tantrums and employ time-out strategies. The thinking spot was used on high rotation and remains a feature in our discipline tool box to this date.

My last serious rendezvous with parenting books was circa 2009 when the twins were babies and I searched high and low for a strategy to get them to sleep. I read every 'twin' parenting book I could find. None of them really helped** but they at least made me feel like I wasn't the only one asking the questions.

So why was I back in the heavily trodden section of the library? We need to make some changes.

The kids are getting feral. When we give an instruction to our children, Noah responds by whining 'why?' and huffing about having 'to do everything' (Yeah right sunshine!).  Doo Dah makes no attempt to follow the instruction until we have repeated it six times (usually in a raised voice by that point). The Minx either responds immediately or chucks a whammy for no apparent reason, reminding me of a Mandrake. And Dew Drop usually does nothing until someone else does.

After weeks of this pattern, the Geege and I have decided that something has to happen. We need to rethink our family routine, family chores and our discipline strategies. Naturally the nerd in me has taken over and is now in search of the 'answer'. I know I won't find it in a parenting book, but what I will do is start to think about our options.

Some conscious parenting never goes astray.

* Possibly an exaggeration but it sure felt like that!
** You'd have thought that I would have learnt that already!


At Number 32 said...

Oh the joys of children. Just when you think you have them sorted, they go and change the script on you. Just know that we are in the same boat over here, only I'm just in denial and hoping the phase will pass soon!! Let me know if ou find any 'good books'!!

Mama of 2 boys said...

Love this MM! I can relate entirely. Every phase we get to, that starts to get a bit sticky and out of control, I search for answers everywhere. In books, online, with friends, family or strangers in the park! Oh and you KNOW I have the king of mandrakes... and let me tell you he has only become worse... my goodness, he can force a busy shopping centre to stand still with that screech.
Hope you find what you're looking for my friend... or at least hope the phase passes quickly. I think all kids are pretty feral at times, haha! xo

Maxabella said...

Whatever you learn, do pass on! x

Erin said...

A book I wish I'd discovered when my oldest were little is
you may find the language rather old fashioned however the premise of cultivating good habits in your children (and yourself ouch) is so true, oh yes and motivating them.

My biggest struggle is self-discipline, ouch, but I find when I am on top of my game (of ME) then I'm running smoother with the children kwim?

Feral kid phase is exhausting, praying you find your solution soon, before they send you insane;) well talking self- discipline I must be off to marshal my troops for the day.

ally said...

I'm with Maxabella...all working strategies need to be shared please.
We've been really working on the older two but the 3yo is in desperate need of some conscious parenting (or even just parenting rather than sistering probably)

Diminishing Lucy said...

Oh goddess, were you a fly on the wall in my house earlier today?! Your gorgeous kids are displaying the exact range of fearless feralness that mine are. If you find a book that solves it all,let me know?!

River said...

It's the weather. It must be the weather, since everyone's kids are doing the same thing. Or possibly something in the water? But I'm going with the weather. No more hours and hours of sunshine, just grey skies and a nip in the air. They'll adjust and settle down. And when spring arrives, they'll start over.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing - more of same going on over here! One book that at least helps me calm down, is "Raise Your Kids Without Raising Your Voice". Compassionate inner parent, anyone?

Quill and Ink Handmade said...

Oh my goodness, how good is it to know that there are other families going through exactly the same thing?
I get to the end of every week and wonder how my children see me; I want so desperately to be a better mother, and wonder all the time if it's the way that we're raising the kids that is leading to the daily madness in our house. I've begun to investigate too - there has to be a more harmonious way to raise spirited children.

Thanks for sharing this, MM x

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