There’s been more sibling fighting around here than usual. Despite what some grandparents and great friends might think, my kids are far from perfect. And although I like to write a lot of travel and entertainment posts, I also want to share with you some parenting tips I’ve learned along the way. I certainly don’t know everything, but I know more than I did five years ago, or ten years ago, or fifteen years ago. So hopefully some of these things will be helpful to you too!
So how does a veteran Mom deal with sibling squabbles and other parenting frustrations? One of the best tips I can give is just taking a pause. There’s been a lot written on this topic, and for good reason. Pausing can be so helpful in so many different areas of life, from public speaking to sales to parenting. How do you apply the concept of taking a minute to Mom life?
Pause When Correction is Needed
When my 6 and 8 year olds are bickering and fighting for the 50th time that day, and I’m not even sure what to do to make it stop, a pause is needed. I need to pause before I decided on the consequence. How does this work exactly?
So I overhear the girls fighting AGAIN in the other room. I want to stop it immediately before it escalates. So I go over (or yell over when I’m feeling lazy) and tell them to stop. I separate them, and send them to different rooms. And then what? Instead of yelling at one of them, or handing out some consequence that I don’t even really want to follow through on, I go back to my own room, and take a minute.
One of the worst things you can do as a parent is to not follow through. So don’t say you’re taking away the iPad for a month unless you really want to do it! Don’t take away that playdate until you are sure that’s the right way to go. So there’s no reason to rush into giving out the consequence. Take a minute for yourself. Avoid the yelling. And make them wait. Then talk about the misbehavior and the consequence you’ve calmly decided on.
Take a Minute When You’re Overwhelmed
Sometimes, no one is misbehaving. There’s nothing that needs corrected. There’s just a lot. A lot of kids, a lot of mess, a lot of noise, you name it. No matter how many kids you have, parenting can be overwhelming. And the more kids you have, the louder and messier things get! We all have times when we feel just overwhelmed. When that happens, taking a minute for yourself can be just the refresh you need.
It took me a long time to not feel guilty about just going in my room by myself, shutting the door, and spending 30 minutes or even an hour doing something by myself. Especially when you are homeschooling, or when your children are younger than school age, you are spending a great deal of time with these little people! From the minute you wake up in the morning, to the minute you go to sleep, you are thinking about your kids, if not actually with them. Taking 30 minutes out of all of that time is perfectly reasonable, and beneficial for everyone in the home.
Prep with a Pause Before a Big Event
Now, by “big event” I mean almost anything where you have expectations or at least hopes for how your children will behave. For us, we pause before getting out of the car at so many places. We take a minute to discuss how we will behave, things that may or may not be appropriate to talk about in certain settings, and what our purpose is at that particular place. This is so helpful for not just children and teens, but also for the adults!
There are different rules at different houses and at different settings. No matter what age your children are, reviewing those rules and expectations will help everyone. I’ve said things like, “While we are in here, we will not run at all.” Or, “We will not ask for any snacks in this home.” And even, “We will not discuss Fortnite here.” Kids rarely know these kinds of things, and how would they unless we tell them?
Pause with Your Partner
Whether it’s a negative or a positive situation, taking a pause in your relationship is a smart idea. If you’re angry and feeling like saying something you might regret, pause. If you haven’t seen each other all day and your partner just walks in the door, take a pause. We all need just a minute to reconnect, review, and relax together. This is especially important with your partner. If you don’t take a minute to simply be together, you’ll miss precious moments that make up a lifetime together.
A Pause is Powerful
As you can see, taking a pause is powerful for so many reasons. When you take a pause, you can
Be a better parent.
Provide better correction.
Improve your mental health.
Prep for a new situation.
Provide expectations for children in a new setting.
Be more patient with your partner.
Have more meaningful moments with your partner.
How have you paused in your life? How has that improved your parenting, your mental health, or your relationships?