Parenting doesn’t come with instructions. It is scary at times and worrisome, as we don’t always know if we are doing it right. We struggle to understand what a baby means every time she cries. As she grows up, we struggle to understand why she eats certain foods and not others, why she prefers certain people to others. We struggle to understand why she does better at certain subjects in school and not others, and why she really likes this boy who, in our opinion, doesn’t deserve our little princess. We also struggle to understand why she rolls her eyes every time we have something to say. We struggle a lot!

1. Relax!

If I hear the word “relax” one more time, I think I’m going to strangle someone. But it’s true! When you relax, things just get better instantly. If we don’t stress out from whatever we’re worried about right this minute “She is not eating any green vegetables! She’s got 72 on her math, AGAIN! How could she like this boy, I mean, look at him!” we remove the extra pressure from ourselves, and our kids. Our kids feel everything and notice everything, even if they don’t tell us. Our moods affect them, just as their moods affect ours. I also began to realize that our kids are under as much pressure as us. They feel pressured by day cares, schools, coaches, friends, and us, parents. They are under enormous pressure to do well, to fit in, be up to our standards. Surviving all this pressure and not cracking at such young age is extremely hard! There is no place for them to relax and unwind and feel safe if we are constantly on top of them with our demands. I knew that I had to make my house that safe place, where everyone feels happy, relaxed and be able to recharge for the upcoming day. I had to make changes within myself and it wasn’t easy. But I was determined to do it. So, once I let go of my high expectations and learned to relax, my kids relaxed as well. The whole household became instantly happier and cheerful. It took me a few months to learn to “let it go” but once I did, things immediately changed for the better for all of us. Try it!

2. Yelling doesn’t work!

When we yell, kids stop hearing us. All they hear is noise. I used to come from work, and start yelling almost immediately at everyone. “Why are there toys all over the floor? It’s not that difficult to throw them in a toy box! Why didn’t you put your plate in a dishwasher? Why did you get your clothes soiled in paint? I don’t care you were painting in class! How am I ever going to get rid of those stains?” And it kept on going. At some point, my kids became immune to my screams and, actually, started yelling back at me! We had lots of screaming matches with no winners in sight. I knew it had to change. It took me a while. First I had to learn how not to scream and what to do when I was about to loose it. Once I’ve mastered that, I was surprised at how easy the rest followed! Kids actually listen when we speak in a calm quiet manner. They try to mimic that back, which I found really surprising. A few months later, once I changed how I communicated with my kids, everything changed! Respect, affection and open communication followed!

3. Enjoy your kids!

Well, easier said than done! I have so much to do! So many obligations! I take care of everyone in the family and have no time for myself. I am too stressed, too overwhelmed, too busy. Taking a 15-minute shower is like a visit to a spa for me! I DON’T HAVE TIME! You do, though! Let go of small things, don’t worry about the crumbs on the table or dirty dishes in the sink. Stop trying to be the SUPERMOM. Enjoy your kids, live in the moment, laugh at their jokes, have a huge pillow fight, just be silly together. These are the moments that count. These are the moments that will stay with you for the rest of your life. These are the moments your kids will tell their kids about. I have a lot of fun with my kids now. We dance in the kitchen while cooking together, we sing at the top of our lungs to a song we hear on the radio in the car, we don’t allow any negativity into the house. And we do our chores together, things that I used to do by myself are now shared between us all. Even though I have to re-do almost everything they do anyway, this time spent together and chatting about the day is precious.

4. It’s never too late to make changes.

I used to feel guilty that I didn’t spend enough quality time with my kids; that I somehow damaged them by not being as involved because I always worked. But it’s never too late to make changes in your life. My daughter was 12 and my son was 6 when I knew things had to change. By taking one step at a time I was able to take control of my actions and myself. Making changes in your life takes a lot of hard work and commitment. But it’s SO WORTH IT! As my kids are growing up, I feel like I am growing up with them, I am learning to be a parent every day and it’s an ongoing experience. But while I am on this ride, I want to enjoy it! and I AM!

Julia Berger is a mom of 2, certified positive discipline parent educator and a founder of Everyday Parenting. If you catch yourself yelling at your kids or struggling with your child’s anger, aggression or defiance, try our interactive, guided and digital Everyday Parenting Program. It’s based on the principals of positive parenting and will help you achieve successful results in as little as 4 weeks! So get the results you’ve been looking for, START you risk-free trial now!

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