Q: I am tired. I feel like I am constantly battling my children.

They know the rules. They know the consequences. Even so, they are always testing me. They always want to know why and they argue with my reasons. Do you have any suggestions?

 

A: Every parent can relate to this. Parenting is hard; good parenting is even harder. Here are ideas that might give you back some energy.

Take care of yourself. When you are most tired, take a break. Go to dinner, see a movie, relax. A change in scenery does wonders for your mood.

  • Carve out time each day that is just for you to do something you enjoy. This may be only 15 minutes, but everyone needs it.
  • Talk to close friends about your frustrations. You will be amazed at how many other families are feeling tired too. Sharing some of your frustration can often release stress and give you some new ideas.
  • Remember that parenting is hard work and what you are doing has to happen to give your children the skills they need to be successful in school.
  • Deal with the behaviors. Don’t dwell on emotions.
  • The reason children argue is because parents allow it. They suck us into arguing by making us think that they are being rational. If parents don’t respond, children have no one with whom to argue.
  • Remind yourself that the goal of children is to get what they want. They will push you as hard as they can to get their way. If you look at it this way it will help you stay focused on what you want for your children.
  • “Everyone else’s parents say it’s OK” is an urban myth.
  • Hearing that you are mean, that you don’t understand, that you will never understand, that you don’t love them, is all part of their tactic to get what they want. Stay secure in the knowledge that your children know that you love them.
  • Find humor in some of your children’s antics. This can be really hard to do, but oftentimes it is what a parent needs to stay sane.
  • Enjoy it when things are going well. I bet if you really look at what is happening there is more good than bad.
  • Finally, focus on the goal of raising healthy, successful, happy children. Trust in yourself to know that is what you are doing.

Hang in there! We are all in this together.