Are you clearing out the garage, dusting off the patio furniture and donating all the clothes your kids have outgrown? Spring cleaning is a lot of hard work but a great way to make a new beginning with the start of the season.
The same can be true with your parenting skills: this is a fabulous time of year to make a new start with your kids and clear out some of the clutter that may have accumulated in your relationships, whether it’s attitude, homework, behavior or _______ (fill in the blank).
Ready to spring clean your parenting mindset? Repeat after us…
- Whenever I get frustrated with my child or feel that I’m a horrible parent, I will remember that I’m actually doing a great job!
- I promise to stop comparing my child and my parenting skills with those of _______ (insert family member, friend, neighbor, etc.) because I know that my family situation is unique.
- We’re going to take a deep breath and slow down… both in the number of activities I try to cram into a day, but also in my reactions to my child. I’ll slow down and think about what I’m going to say before I say it.
- Instead of focusing on the things that go wrong, I’m going to start celebrating the best things about my child, knowing that this type of positive reinforcement will bring about more of these great characteristics.
- I resolve to stop beating myself up emotionally for ______ (insert whatever you feel most guilty about) and to remember that there’s no such thing as a perfect parent.
- I will remember that love and education form the most solid foundation for life that I can provide for my child.
Now this isn’t to say that your stress will melt away and spring and summer will be magically full of rainbows and unicorns… your child is still going to push your buttons and you’re still going to face challenging parenting scenarios. If your daughter’s go-to reaction is attitude, you’re still going to have to address that. If your son throws tantrums, you’re still going to have to deal with them. If your kids struggle with homework, you’re still going to have to help them (at least until school is out).
We parents are constantly evolving and growing, and it’s not that easy to hold onto positive thoughts like these when you’re in the thick of a difficult situation. Parenting is very much like growing a garden; a long term investment of your time and energy. It’s never easy, it requires lots of attention, and it can be exhausting to keep up with it all.
But refreshing your mindset, focusing on the positive and cutting yourself some slack will work wonders for you, your partner and your children.
Remember that you can do a spring cleaning of your parenting mindset any time of year, making adjustments if it seems you are off course. Keeping a long-term perspective is crucial. All that energy and effort pays off when you see the wonderful person your child is growing into with your guidance.
Now, back to clearing out the garage…
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