Princess and The Rock

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Monday, 14 October 2013

5 Ways to be a Lazy Parent

Of late I realised my husband and I have slipped into lazy parenting. What exactly is lazy parenting? I'll let you in on 5 ways of being a lazy parent:

  1. Not being creative in discipline.

  2. I can't help but feel that I was a much better parent a few years ago (although I've only been one for close to five years). I felt I was a lot more calm and collected when I was a mum to an only child; I hardly had to raise my voice at Princess and most issues and unhappiness were easily resolved without much drama. These days the volume gets louder, time-outs more frequent and tears more abundant.

    An incident today suddenly made me see things clearer. We were on the way to IKEA and in the car just before we left, Princess irritated The Rock and was rude to Daddy. This sparked off Daddy's anger and of course he reprimanded Princess and  wanted to abort the plan to go out. The situation escalated in the matter of minutes and soon everyone was very upset and frustrated. I stood there feeling kind of ridiculous and perplexed that we allowed our emotions to "run wild". I couldn't help but feel that the situation could have been resolved with a little bit more patience and creativity on our part as parents.

    As work pile up and the needs and demands of our children increase, we slipped into lazy discipline; misbehaviour = scolding + anger + timeout. Frankly, those disciplining methods hardly work but we continue to do so. We stopped trying other permutations and possibilities. How about trying to get to know the "why"? How about redirecting attention to something else? How about providing alternatives? Is it possible to inject some humour? Maybe timeout for ourselves?  

    Here is a great article I read about lazy parenting that I found useful, you may want to look at it too.

  3. Not being mindful in parenting.

  4. This one is familiar to many of us. To put it across very simplistically, being mindful means paying attention to the present. That means when your child is showing you his newly-accomplished artwork, you appreciate it by looking at it, by listening to his description and praising him for his effort or good work. How many of us, in such a situation, would quickly bring out our iphones and take photos of it and post the photos on Instagram or Facebook? I am guilty as charged. With so much going on around us, it takes a lot of self-control to be a mindful parent. I know I've crossed the line when I found The Rock having to borrow Daddy's phone frequently so that he can take a photo of ANYTHING.

  5. Not being compassionate in communication and actions.

  6. Do you listen to your children? I mean really listen to what they are saying, whether in words or otherwise. I admit I've forgotten to listen actively and compassionately sometimes, especially when the dinner was on the stove, piles of laundry waiting to be folded, floor littered with books and toys and my children were threatening to send each other to the hospital! In situations like these, I couldn't hear, "I'm being treated unfairly!" or "I think you love my younger brother more than me." I could only see my children seething with anger, The Rock being a tyrant and Princess getting her way as a bully.

    I think children, just like us, appreciate being listened to. It does wonders when I simply paraphrase what my children said or give them a hug and tell them, "I know you are very upset now." I just don't do enough of it and that is silly because that few minutes I take to empathise with them I save them and myself a lot of heartache and anger.

  7. Not being organised in housekeeping.

  8. You know the saying that the state of your desk is the state of your mind? I kind of agree with it. The state of my house reflects the state of my parenting and my life. When my house is a mess, my life feels like a mess too. I really struggle with this housekeeping business but I still think it's important to keep the house reasonably neat and organised so that our children do not see us as lazy parents! I guess if I ask my children to tidy up after themselves I have to lead by example, right?

  9. Not being consistent in instructions and consequences.

  10. "I thought you said I cannot eat cold things today, why did you give me ice-cream?" Oops! Kena caught being inconsistent again. Everyone knows how important this one is but we become inconsistent unknowingly sometimes or when we are not mindful. When we do not follow through with what we've said, children are not sure about the boundaries and they tend to test to see if they can "get away with it this time". We have rules laid out but sometimes for convenience sake, we let them slip so that we can avoid a meltdown or a meal gets finished faster. Taking the shortcut "solves" the problem at hand but inconsistency in parenting may result in confusion and insecurity. 

Now that you know how lazy I've become as a parent, I need to go straighten myself out!

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