At the beginning of every New Year, I sit down and plan my year ahead. I write down my dreams, desires and goals.
Then I compile a list of ‘To Do’s’ to help me achieve them, which usually motivates me to get going.
To get busy weaving my dreams into reality.
But one thing 2020 has taught me is that, even my best laid plans can go awry. Although I had big goals for last year, the most important ones I achieved were not through planning or doing but through unforeseen circumstances and just going with the flow and ‘being’.
Spending more family ‘Us Time’ present in the moment and feeling relaxed and content just doing nothing, happened naturally during lockdown.
Having time to get both of my books completed and published arose from a misfortunate Covid-19 set of circumstances, forcing me to close my childcare business for months.
Appreciating friends and family more was another side effect of being kept apart from those I loved.
And being grateful for everything I had, such as my business, my home and family became enough to make me stop and see that- I already had everything I needed and wanted in life.
So today on January the 1st 2021, as I sit in the warm glow of sweet-scented candlelight, notebook and pen in hand, ready to plan 2021, there’s only one goal on my list this year and that’s simply to enjoy each and every moment with those I love.
My children’s Primary school had the perfect motto and that is; TEAM.
Which stands for – Together Everyone Achieves More. You could really feel the sense of that message resonating with staff and pupils.
When we feel part of a team, we feel like we are all in it together, to help and support one another. This is important to bear in mind, that we are on the same side, when Coaching our children’s behaviour.
Working together makes you both stronger, happier, healthier and more successful.
Parenting is not a battle of us
against our children or vice versa.
Neither should there be any
competition between parents, there’s no good cop, bad cop. It takes both
parents, as well as any other carers who are involved in our children’s life,
to come together and agree on rules and routines.
If not, our children will become
confused, angry or upset, and eventually they will end up playing us off
against each other.
This tactic is the most common cause of parent’s arguing with one another. Therefore, we need to join and stand together as a team. Remaining consistent, firm and fair together.
Making sure that everyone who cares for our children does the same, by sticking to the rules and routines that we expect our children to follow.
This team effort approach ensures, we are all on the same side, working towards the same goals. But what happens when the team breaks down due to divorce or separation?
I have found it common for parents who
have recently split up, to turn to their children for comfort, allowing them to
stay up later or bed share with them, saying that their children are feeling
insecure and need them. In most cases the truth is, the newly single parent
needs the child to need them, as they are feeling rejected or sad. There’s
nothing wrong with needing some love when we are feeling low, as long as we
know what is happening and why?
And we also understand that it’s not our children’s fault when we find happiness again or decide we no longer want them to stay up late or bed share with us, and we try to change that.
Now I’m not picking on single parents
here. I admire them most, (I myself grew up in a one parent family without my
Mum) as they have to do all this parenting routine stuff alone, often with
little or no support. But I couldn’t help but notice that when some parents split
up, a competitive game can ensue between the two.
I have heard that children always suffer when parents use them in their games (really this is a game no one ever really wins) but if anyone, I’ve found children are the only ones who really ever win at this game, as they learn how to play one parent off against the other.
Parents wanting to be the ‘Best Parent’ often give in to their children, and that normally means allowing them to stay up late, eat treats and have gifts for no reason. Routine especially falls by the wayside, when the absent parent, who only has limited time such as weekends to spend with their child, wants to; ‘make the most of their time together’.
The poor parent who spends most of
their time with the child tirelessly providing a routine, then has to suffer
the rest of the time with a tired child who prefers their other parent, as they
do more fun things and give them what they want. If you are at the receiving end of this from
an ex- partner and parent to one of your children, then as a proactive parent
you have to address it. This is a stressful situation as the other parent may use
this against you. You may worry they might deliberately go against your wishes
and flout your routines as a way of getting you back for past hurts.
It’s likely they may try? On the other hand, they may be totally unaware of the problems they are causing and may well apologise and try to help you. They may have only been doing it out of genuine misguided love for your child, and wanting to spend quality time with them?
Or they may have tried to compensate, out of guilt for not being around as much anymore?
In either instance, your child’s health and happiness is what’s most important. If in any doubt suggest they read this blog post or drop them the link, so you are both on the same page.
By creating one team, we also get our children on side too. They won’t enjoy being the only person in a team against many for long. Eventually learning to get along with everyone, and playing by the rules and routines, will become their goal too.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have family and friends living close by and there’s probably more single parents today than married. As we’ve seen in the news recently with Cheryl Tweedy hinting that she would like another child solo, there’s also those choosing to parent alone. But a A strong network of family and the support of friends and other carers, including teachers, will help to build a winning team together. Creating the foundations that will become our children’s greatest support and security in life. Providing a safe base to turn to, where they can rely on consistency, familiarity and comfort.
Our children knowing that, everything we do is for their own sake, not for our own, and knowing we’re are not trying to spoil their fun but help them, is key to getting them on side
This helps them to see that we’re all united, and have rules and routines for good reason, for their happiness, security, health and safety. Rules and routines help us to communicate with our children positively and effectively, whilst they are learning how to connect and communicate with us, and others.