Looking back on the past year, you can probably come up with several things you wish you'd done better -- especially when it comes to parenting.
Breaking bad habits
Most moms would agree that they're never fully satisfied with the job they're doing and can cite every excuse in the book, from guilt to lack of time to feeling burned out. One of the great things about a new year is it can be a clean slate. From letting guilt get the best of you to trying to be perfect, here are 5 parenting habits you can break this year.
Stop feeling guilty
Parenting from a place of guilt is where many moms rest comfortably. "According to Devra Renner, MSW, co-author of Mommy Guilt, the number one reason why parents should stop letting guilt get the best of them is because feeling guilty about your parenting does not benefit your child."
Renner goes on to say, "You should decide if the guilt you are feeling is valid. If so, change something. If not, shrug it off and tell yourself 'So what!' So what if your son wants to wear a Superman shirt for two weeks straight. He'll still get into college."
"Stress makes us stupid -- it often takes away our ability to follow our gut or use common sense."
"Guilt stresses parents out. Feeling less guilt results in feeling less stress, feeling less stress creates a more confident approach to parenting that is far more calm, consistent and caring."
Stop making excuses
So you admit that you weren't the world's best mom last year. And maybe you can offer up multiple reasons for why. Stop right there. It doesn't matter why you came up short in the parenting department. Just vow to make improvements this year. With as little time as you already have, don't waste it on excuses.
If you say you're going to take the toy away, take it away. If you say you're not going to take your child to the birthday party, don't take him. Stop making empty threats and start following through. Your child will have a lot more respect for you when you do. And you might also find that his behavior improves when he sees that there is a consequence.
Stop the double
Don't tell your child not to yell and then proceed to yell at him or in front of him. Don't ask your child not to curse and then say bad words in front of him. You get the idea. It's simple. Just practice what you preach.
Stop trying to be perfect
Repeat this mantra: I am not a perfect mother. I am not a perfect mother. I am not a perfect mother. Accepting that you are human, that you are flawed, can be easier said than done. But recognizing that it only creates more problems when you try to be perfect is a step toward accepting your imperfections.
Aviva Pflock, Certified Child Development Specialist and co-author of Mommy Guilt says, "None of us became parents to be tormented and miserable for the rest of our lives. Parenting is a gift to enjoy. Chances are, we are doing what we truly believe is best for our children. Will we make mistakes? You bet, it's part of the learning process. Fortunately, kids are forgiving and we should be too. We give our kids a "do-over" when they make mistakes; there's no reason we shouldn't allow ourselves the same."
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