Today, I would like to document my journey from not being able to understand my child to be able to connect with him. A few things made my parenting difficult in the early parenthood journey. It had become quite overwhelming and exhausting. I was clueless about what should I do or what changes should I bring in my parenting so that I could connect with my child well! But to fix something, you must find what is going wrong. I jotted down a few things where I was struggling and figured out where I was doing wrong in the first place before blaming it on my child.
Here are a few pointers I found and figured them out.
1. Lack of understanding of how to regulate the emotional flood
I had no understanding about the emotional state of the child during early parenting days. When Devansh acted out of the way, and I only checked his hunger, sleep routine, or physical challenge, I never thought of why all these things were happening?
Also, I used to dismiss/stop him immediately with statements like:
- There is nothing to cry about!
- There is nothing to be scared about!
- Why are you crying whenever it is time to go skating/school?
- Boys never cry!
- Get up; everyone is watching us!
When we tell the kids such things, we send a message that feelings don’t matter. This way, we are teaching them how to suppress those emotional floods!
2. Not apologising when I am at fault
Here comes the parenting ego. If I break a rule, I must admit it! And I must say sorry to my kid. Which I never used to do until a few months back.
Let me explain with one example –
When Devansh was 2-3 years old; it became routine when he used to throw things here and there. You can not find a single thing. It used to be all messed up all around the house. And I kept yelling and shouting and bombarding!
On one fine day, he was getting on my nerves. And out of burst, I threw his toy outside! 😞 I know; it was a terrible way of behaving with my child!
But As soon as I did, he asked me to apologise!
This is how our conversation went:
Devansh: Mumma, you made a mistake today.
Devansh: Today, you threw my toy. You should say sorry to me!
Me: Why would I?
Devansh: Because you broke the rule; and shouted at me!
Me: [But I was not ready to apologise!] 😣
Devansh: [Thinking deeply] 💭 Mumma, I will not have to say sorry once I grow up.
Devansh: You are not saying sorry about what you did today.
[He believed that adults do not need to apologise for their mistakes as they have the right to break the rule!]
Me: [Then I realised where his mind was taking him.] I immediately said sorry, but there is a difference between saying it and feeling sorry! 😕
It made me realise one thing. Kids observe and learn from our behaviour instead of our moral lectures!
As parents, our job is not only to set limits/boundaries for our kids, but we also need to follow them. If we expect them to follow the rules, we should first take the initiative to follow them.
3. Silent treatment
At a certain point, when my child did not behave the way I instructed him, I started giving silent treatment. That became my comfort way, but not for my child. I thought it was better to stay silent. Because when you are angry, you may scold or even hit them. So to avoid that hassle I started being silent when he does something wrong and which is not acceptable.
When he tried to talk to me, I did not pay attention. In short, I used to ignore him completely. I thought the right way to make him understand his mistakes is staying silent!
And I was wrong! Instead of making him understand what he did wrong, I started ignoring him. And this used to create a new drama of tantrums, clinginess, and sometimes he fell sick!
Later I realised that it is always better to talk with the child about what s/he has done wrong and how s/he can improve.
Giving silent treatment to this little soul would not make any sense! We usually forget that they are learning and adapting. By doing so, we are planting seeds of how we should treat the other person when things don’t work the way we expect them to.
If we stop communicating, it may lead to more misunderstandings too. So it is always good to talk with the child even when you are upset with him/her. The silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse. Imagine how uncomfortable, insecure, and stressed they can become when the only person they trust in the world does not respond to them.
So big no to Silent Treatment! ❌
4. Saying No without proper reason
I feared that if I say Yes to everything, my child would never learn to take No as a response. And in this very wrong thought process, I started saying no to everything when he asked for something without giving it a second thought.
In that process, my child started replicating the same with us! If I asked anything from him, he started saying No! And it felt strange why he is behaving like this!
Lately, I realise that I have only rooted this pattern! I started being mindful about saying No! When the child asks for something, take a pause; and think if it is valid to say No.
Saying No without giving a reason, and just dismissing the child’s question is not going to help. Connect with them, and explain a proper reasons for saying No instead of, I am elder than you, so believe/accept it; what I say.
5. Not filling my cup
No one can pour from the empty cup! To effectively look after others, we must first take care of ourselves.
If we continue pouring out of our cup; without refilling it consistently, we will soon begin to experience that dry, cracked feeling at the bottom of a cup. An empty cup eventually leads to burnout and breakdown. And that started happening frequently. My husband made me realise that I needed to fix this part.
Filling the cup is different for everybody. Maybe one needs a break from daily chores/work, or the other needs to resume what they like to pursue. When you do something out of your interest, it feels like a refreshment.
Gradually, I realised my own mistakes! I was able to figure out where I needed to work on myself. I am still in the process of learning and unlearning many things as a Mom. And that only helps me make a better person and a mom!
Remember, one day at a time is the key! 👍🏻
I still struggle at many things, I also have tough days but I am looking at what went good in whole tough day! It is upto us which side we choose to see! Things are not always going to work the way we have expected! Once we start embracing, it feels like magic!
If you are someone, who is struggling to understand the child’s behaviour or you know someone around you who should read this, please feel free to share.