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How I'm going to be a better parent (1 Viewer)

I have a 8 year old daughter and a 5 year old son and I feel like a year ago I could have written that exact post. Both of them are fantastic kids. They use their manners most of the time and with few exceptions are extremely well behaved kids and I still found myself expecting more. Not realizing the obvious: they are still children.

I have gotten much better over the last year. It's been difficult because in my experience 5-6 is the worst age for listening and my boy is definitely in the middle of that right now but I have worked very hard on getting my message across without losing control myself.I still fail occasionally and when I do end up yelling I apologize and confirm the message in a more appropriate manner and things have gotten much better.

Wife always complains I have my expectation level too high and that may be true to a degree but I see no problem with wanting them to be as good as they can be. I just had/have to control the way I teach them those expectations.

 
We aren't hard on our kids, but we do hold them to appropriate standards. Positive discipline (telling them what TO do often) and in stilling a sense of responsibility is huge. The if/then structure works for us. Maybe because they are girls.

I agree with IE about 'Would you rather do A or B?' We use this often with our 5 year old who is a huge procrastinator (just like me :bag: ). She takes 1 hour to clean her room when it only takes 5 minutes. I used to go in there and ask 'Why aren't you focusing? Get it done!' I've learned to phrase this as 'If it takes you too long to clean, you won't get your cuddle time. Or you won't get a book before bed. Bedtime is in 30 minutes so if you dilly dally, you go straight to bed.' She's very relational, loves reading and cuddling and talking. So framing her procrastination as a trade off of time with me or the wife is effective v

 
There's no such thing as "quality time". There's just time. Give your kids time. By doing that all of the other things fall into place and they'll know you love them. That's really all we and they really want.

 
:blackdot: right there with you.

I'm not sure I know how to get my point across without raising my voice. Pretty sure my wife can't either. She's home with the kids (girls, 6 and 4) all day (except when they are in school) and by the time I get home, she's usually at her wits end. The toy room hasn't been properly cleaned in a month despite us asking them to do it daily, the girls cannot stop touching Christmas stuff, they can't seem to go a day without fighting about something stupid, etc. So she is at her wits end by the time I get home. I end up picking up on her vibe and backing up her yelling at the kids because it's important for us to be unified, but then I feel guilty - like I'm really yelling at the kids because they've put my wife in a bad mood.
This is where I am. Our problem is that my wife suffers from chronic migraines, and I feel like I am constantly having to tell the kids to calm down so it's not so hard on my wife. My kids run around, yell, talk loudly, etc. because they're kids. I have to constantly remind myself, and my wife, of that.

 
My sister and brother in law need to read this thread, they are horrible parents. Three boys (10, 7 & 3) and they are a handful, but the parenting and discipline are inconsistent and they don't pay enough attention to them.

 
Great afternoon and evening yesterday. Took some work, but just let some things slide that I normally would just get on him about. Didn't yell once and had a talk and made a deal with him. Putting him to bed, I asked him what would make the best dad in the world, trying to see some things he might like me to start doing. His answer: "You". :cry:

Added bonus: This morning, toothpaste cap on and sink cleaned for the first time in a long time without any prompting.

 
Great afternoon and evening yesterday. Took some work, but just let some things slide that I normally would just get on him about. Didn't yell once and had a talk and made a deal with him. Putting him to bed, I asked him what would make the best dad in the world, trying to see some things he might like me to start doing. His answer: "You". :cry:

Added bonus: This morning, toothpaste cap on and sink cleaned for the first time in a long time without any prompting.
:thumbup:

 
I must have done something right...my 16 y.o. daughter sat down next to me and rested her head on my shoulder as we watched TV last night. :wub:

 
Great afternoon and evening yesterday. Took some work, but just let some things slide that I normally would just get on him about. Didn't yell once and had a talk and made a deal with him. Putting him to bed, I asked him what would make the best dad in the world, trying to see some things he might like me to start doing. His answer: "You". :cry:

Added bonus: This morning, toothpaste cap on and sink cleaned for the first time in a long time without any prompting.
:hifive: Is it dusty in here?'
 
I've seen this place turn into a great place to vent and talk about certain things "anonymously" as a means of support for lots of people for various things. Oftentimes it's marriage related things or money or work related things. Well, I'm going to try it out because I really think I've been failing pretty miserably and need to do much better. Especially in light of recent threads and posts here, it makes me feel even worse that I'm where I am but, here goes....

I have the most amazing 8 year old son. Smart, funny, liked by everyone, and good at just about anything he does. I love him with all my heart. I also now have a 1 year old little girl who is on her way as well :) These are the 2 joys in my life.

Yet, for some reason, I keep expecting my son to be perfect and get upset far too often over things I really shouldn't be. I've told him countless times not to run in the house. So many times I've had to ask him to put things away. Multiple reminders to say please and thank you. So many times he talks so loud or talks so much that we need to ask him to quiet down. And I do these things to try and turn him into the best man he can be. But, I find myself too often getting upset about having to repeat things and yelling and I'm really starting to feel like I'm doing a horrible job. I find myself getting much easier to get upset. I find myself yelling more. And ultimately I find him being upset with me as a result of what I'm doing.
This is a little frightening how exactly this describes my situation right now. If it wasn't for my wife, my 9-year-old son would probably have run away by now. I just really need to stop sweating (and freaking out about) the details so much.

 
Great afternoon and evening yesterday. Took some work, but just let some things slide that I normally would just get on him about. Didn't yell once and had a talk and made a deal with him. Putting him to bed, I asked him what would make the best dad in the world, trying to see some things he might like me to start doing. His answer: "You". :cry:

Added bonus: This morning, toothpaste cap on and sink cleaned for the first time in a long time without any prompting.
:thumbup:

This is good stuff.

 
There's no such thing as "quality time". There's just time. Give your kids time. By doing that all of the other things fall into place and they'll know you love them. That's really all we and they really want.
I'd say the one caveat is that if you're on your phone/laptop/tablet, then you're not spending time with them. A lot of people seem to think that playing on Facebook while in the same room as their kid is spending time with their kid. It's not.

 
There's no such thing as "quality time". There's just time. Give your kids time. By doing that all of the other things fall into place and they'll know you love them. That's really all we and they really want.
I'd say the one caveat is that if you're on your phone/laptop/tablet, then you're not spending time with them. A lot of people seem to think that playing on Facebook while in the same room as their kid is spending time with their kid. It's not.
Of course, but that's not spending time with your kid, it's spending time on your phone/tablet/etc.

I have found that playing games with my son is a decent compromise sometimes.

It's tough during the winter but I like to take after-dinner walks with my son, leaving my phone at home. The conversations we have are wonderful.

 
Love playing video games with my kid. He asked for Skylanders for Christmas which I bought but am kinda bummed its only one player.

 
gianmarco said:
Great afternoon and evening yesterday. Took some work, but just let some things slide that I normally would just get on him about. Didn't yell once and had a talk and made a deal with him. Putting him to bed, I asked him what would make the best dad in the world, trying to see some things he might like me to start doing. His answer: "You". :cry:

Added bonus: This morning, toothpaste cap on and sink cleaned for the first time in a long time without any prompting.
:thumbup:

 
Some updates:

First of all, I've been so much happier the last few days since I posted this. This has actually been easier than I thought and overall I'm just more calm and not letting little things bug me as much (if at all). Instead of yelling about something minor, I either just ask calmly or do it myself if it's not a big deal. It's strange, but it's just gotten easier to do, not harder. I really haven't had any urge to get upset or felt that I had to hold anything back.

Initially I think he started to confuse what we talked about with him being able to get away with stuff and that he wouldn't get in trouble. But, after a couple obvious things that he shouldn't do and getting in trouble (without yelling or having it come from my wife), he realized what the difference actually was. That's what I was initially worried about and he definitely tried to see if I had gone "soft". That said, when he got in trouble for how he acted after losing a game a couple nights ago and had to go to bed early as a result, he awoke the next morning with an understanding of how things would be. He then tried it again and got sent back into his room until he came out and apologized. In the past, he'd try to show his will and make it last a while. This time, he came out after just a few minutes, apologized, and has been on his best behavior since.

Overall, it's amazing how our relationship has changed in just a couple of days. More hugs. More smiles. While the routine is usually that Mom will read with him prior to going to bed, he specifically asked for me to go in with him. And I've truly started enjoying his company again and doing stuff with him. This was what was bothering me the most lately. I had been getting so frustrated with him that I was starting to not enjoy my time with him. And finally, my wife has just been happier overall and I know for a fact it's related to how things have been even though I haven't spoken to her about any of this.

I really appreciate some of the very kind words and posts some of you have included in here. It's also comforting to see that I haven't been the only one that has gone through this. For any of you that feel the same way or have gone through this, PLEASE read the 2nd post I have in this thread and give it a shot. I honestly feel better about myself and about him than I have in a very, very long time even though overall these feelings I initially wrote about haven't been going on for that long. I still have a LONG way to go as anyone can do anything for just a few days and I want this to be a permanent change, but as I'm taking this one day at a time, I honestly feel like I've got a good shot to keep this up.

 
Great afternoon and evening yesterday. Took some work, but just let some things slide that I normally would just get on him about. Didn't yell once and had a talk and made a deal with him. Putting him to bed, I asked him what would make the best dad in the world, trying to see some things he might like me to start doing. His answer: "You". :cry:

Added bonus: This morning, toothpaste cap on and sink cleaned for the first time in a long time without any prompting.
I must have done something right...my 16 y.o. daughter sat down next to me and rested her head on my shoulder as we watched TV last night. :wub:
:thumbup:

 
Some updates:

1) My son had a pretty significant meltdown a few days ago. After being asked not to run in the house 3 times over a span of 10 minutes, I asked him to go to his room and read for a few minutes to get him to just calm down a bit. I never got upset with him with any of those and that request to go to his room wasn't even a punishment nor sounded like one. When he looked at me and said "no", that's when it started. Without yelling, I made sure he got into his room and told him he'd stay until he decided he would behave better. Well, for some reason, he just lost it and started saying lots of things like how he hated it here, he hated his parents, we were so mean, etc. I know all kids go through this at some point (I know I did a couple times as a kid) but the timing of this was definitely tied to how things had been going for a week. I guess he felt like he could say all these things. And, I just let him and told him that I was sorry he felt that way but that I still loved him and I was disappointed we couldn't spend a better evening together and left the room. After about half hour, I went back (putting clothes away but also to "check on him") and he just started bawling and gave me the biggest hug and said how sorry he was. I was torn that evening over how things went that day. It broke my heart to hear some of the things said. It broke my heart to know he was thinking some of these things at some point and didn't even feel like he could say them (if that was the case). But it was great seeing him be able to do that and apologize and just have a relatively good rest of the evening.

2) Yesterday he came up to me and asked me how many tally marks he owed me. This is because we made a deal to mark each day that I haven't yelled at him. Well, it's been since I first posted here and gave him the number. He came back about 15 minutes later with a box with sheets of paper that I got to choose my "prize" from. Apparently, every 7 days I go I get to pick a prize. I picked "watch a family movie together". Looking forward to that one. He then pulled out one sheet and showed it to me that said "You get to yell at me once".

Wtf. I almost started crying right there. Absolutely kills me to think that he thinks that's something that would be a "prize". I looked at him, took that piece of paper and threw it in the garbage and told him that I never want to yell at him. I certainly never wanted to before (even though I would) and now, I simply won't and have no desire to. He just looked at me and smiled and said "thanks, Dad". This just made me realize how important this is for both of us.

3) Now going on almost 2 weeks since I posted this and changed how I've been with him and again I can't emphasize enough how much better I feel overall. I've lost all desire to yell at this point and find it even easier to talk calmly even when I'm upset with something he's done (and in general). That said, the last couple days, I've noticed I've gotten back on picking on little things for him to do. This is the definitely the hardest thing for me to let go. I just need to go back and realize that he's just a kid and isn't going to be perfect and it doesn't help for me to nag about every little thing every few minutes. So now my focus is on just letting those things go and deciding which things are more important to harp on and which aren't.

I can't say that his behavior overall has changed very much (i.e. it's not as if the toothpaste has been covered every single day since this started) but I can say that there's more smiles, more hugs, and my overall disposition all the time has been vastly improved. I'm actually relatively easy-going with lots of things but when it came to him I really lost my patience too easily. By letting things go and not raising my voice, I've started to feel how I normally am at home with him as well. It's a great feeling.

 
I have a 8 year old daughter and a 5 year old son and I feel like a year ago I could have written that exact post. Both of them are fantastic kids. They use their manners most of the time and with few exceptions are extremely well behaved kids and I still found myself expecting more. Not realizing the obvious: they are still children.
Eight and two here and the exact same reaction.

FWIW, I've found that 'go sit on the steps' after repeated infraction #2 works great for heading off the yelling after repeated infraction #8. Nothing's worse for a kid than sitting with nothing to do for a short time (one minute per year). Has really helped all of us since we started doing it more frequently. When we first cracked down on the older one ignoring us he was there 3-4 times a day for about a week. Now it happens much less often.

And just asking "do you want time out" to the two year old usually stops whatever he's doing that he shouldn't. Even 90 seconds is forever to him.

The biggest problem we have now is that when I'm in the middle of doing something else or tired or otherwise distracted I still let things go too long and build up to frustration before doing all that. So dumb.

 
Can you post about how to not get mad at my wife? She's taking all the heat these days.

TIA.
Not sure how serious this question is, but I can say that my wife is certainly the one that gets more upset with me than vice versa. Over the last 2 weeks, she's gotten far less upset with me. My negativity on him was feeding hers toward me and it just kept circling around. As someone posted above, I actually thought it was HIS behavior that was making her upset when it really just came right back to me instead.

If you don't want to get mad at her anymore, then the answer is simply don't. Think of something (some words or a post here) that makes you realize why you shouldn't get angry and think of it EVERY time you want to get mad. Sounds silly but it works.

What works for me? As sad as it sounds, I think of Chance and I think of a similarly aged family member who also isn't around anymore whenever I think my son is being bad and I need to scold him. It pretty quickly puts it all in perspective and makes it very easy to let it go and just give him a hug instead.

 
It's been over a month. I haven't yelled at my son once since I've started this. It truly has been great for both myself and for him. As I remarked above, it hasn't really changed his overall behavior but it certainly has changed how he has responded to being corrected. It has also done wonders on fixing what was a strained relationship due to frequent yelling and subsequent shutting down as a result.

I've made a more conscious effort lately to not be hyper-critical because that is clearly my next step to improve. No yelling is great but constant nagging isn't much better. I just try to remind myself each time I want to say something that "he's only 8" and it really does help keep it in perspective.

At this point, I'll probably only post some major updates (positive or negative) but thanks to all who responded here as it helped me realize I wasn't alone in this.

 
It's been over a month. I haven't yelled at my son once since I've started this. It truly has been great for both myself and for him. As I remarked above, it hasn't really changed his overall behavior but it certainly has changed how he has responded to being corrected. It has also done wonders on fixing what was a strained relationship due to frequent yelling and subsequent shutting down as a result.

I've made a more conscious effort lately to not be hyper-critical because that is clearly my next step to improve. No yelling is great but constant nagging isn't much better. I just try to remind myself each time I want to say something that "he's only 8" and it really does help keep it in perspective.
This is the whole point. Guess what? Every 8-year-old in the world is going to make mistakes and misbehave sometimes. The question for parents is what do you want to get out of their mistakes and how do you go about it. To me, the mistake is a chance for education and correction. Yes, sometimes a punishment must be part of the correction. But far more often, a genuine conversation is all that is needed. And then hopefully, the kid takes to heart what you've talked about and learns from it. But at the very least, they're not defensive and/or fearful of you. How would you like it if someone screamed at you every time you make a mistake?

Keep it up, even if the short-term gains aren't always immediately visible, the long-term payoff is going to be great.

 
Need to bump this. Rereading through this has been helpful and, with a lot of stress lately, I need to get back on track. Some incredibly helpful contributions in here and hopefully can be helpful for others. Will post some more updates soon.

 

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