The last couple of years has been an interesting time on my parenting journey. 2.5 years ago we went from 1 child to 2, and it was a difficult transition for me. Over the next year I struggled a lot with having a new baby and a toddler, and how to best meet both of their needs. I was stressed and trying to “fix” my 3 year old’s behaviour. This led to a lot of research, lots of asking Google, and I started going to talks and seminars and buying books.
Let me just pause and say I’m not perfect; I’ve parented in ways I wish I hadn’t. But I did the best I could at the time, with the knowledge and sanity I had, on little sleep. Being a parent is one of the most confronting things I’ve ever done. It’s highlighted things I don’t like about myself and put a spotlight on my weaknesses. And one of the key things I’ve learned over the last year is that kids learn from their parents. They learn how to handle stress, and manage their emotions, by modelling their parents. Once I realised this, I also realised that the first step to changing my kids behaviour is changing my own. Acknowledging this has brought about a lot of guilt, a lot of soul-searching and tears, but also started my path to change.
It’s certainly not an overnight fix though. Changing your thought patterns, how you’ve been your whole life, and ultimately changing your behaviour takes a while! I’m still learning. I still make mistakes. But even knowing I’m making small changes keeps me going!
This path of educating myself in parenting recently led me to attending a talk by developmental psychologist Dr Gordon Neufeld. It was titled “Raising kids in a digital world”. While this was the topic of the talk, there was a lot of discussion on parenting and child development, and it was a bit of an “aha” moment for me, both in connecting some of the dots when it comes to parenting and also in shedding some light on myself as an adolescent and how its shaped who I am today.
My next two blog posts will be focused on this talk, a bit of background, and my takeaways which I hope will help my parenting journey and also my own personal journey.