Do you ever have days when you feel that you’re failing as a parent? That nothing you try seems to get through to your teen? Or that your 10-year-old is constantly pushing your buttons and getting you upset?
Let’s be honest for a minute. We ALL have moments when we question ourselves as parents. Parenting is hard work; it’s exhausting, stressful, time-consuming, and often a huge guessing game as to whether we are really doing the right thing.
Because I was a coach’s wife for 32 years and our three kids all played sports through college, I often revert to sports as an example. If you or your child has played sports, you know about the half-time or mid-game pep talks that coaches give their players. Coaches who are less effective tend to focus on the negative, yell and even demean the players, while effective leaders will focus on the positive as well as instruct and teach to help players improve.
If you’ve been parenting for a few years, you may be in the “half-time” of raising your kids at home. Maybe you feel like you’re down by a very large margin and wonder if you can come back in the second half. Perhaps the score is close, but you are barely managing to stay in the game and wonder if you can keep up the pace. Wherever you find yourself at half-time, I’d like to give you a coaching pep talk to help you get back out there and finish the game strong.
Parents, remember this as you face all the challenges of the parenting “game”:
You may have had a slow start, but it’s not too late to change.
Perhaps you didn’t have good parenting models growing up or maybe you just were not being as intentional as you should have been in the early years of parenting. It’s not too late to turn things around.
Feel like you’ve failed as a parent? Failure is not final.
Wish you could make a change in how you parent? Then make the change and stop wishing for it.
If you recognize that something needs to change in your parenting–perhaps you can’t quite put your finger on it–schedule a free intro call with a parenting coach like myself or a counselor. Even if your child is off to college, it’s not too late to work on your parent/child relationship.
Focus on the fundamentals.
For parents, the fundamentals are those things that they’ve determined are their family’s core values. Sometimes, it’s easy for parents to get caught up in so many small battles that they lose sight of the long-term values. It’s another way of saying, “choose your battles.”
If you’ve not determined your family’s core values, take a few minutes together to write 5-6 value statements, talk about them as a family and then refer to them often as you parent.
I can’t tell you how many times my husband-coach gave the “let’s get back to the fundamentals” talk to his athletes. As a parenting coach, I’d like to give you that same encouragement–perhaps it sounds too simple, but I’m confident that focusing on the fundamentals in your home will be a game-changer for your family.
It takes teamwork.
It’s easy to feel alone in your parenting, especially if you are a single parent. But even though you are the one primarily responsible for raising your kids, you do not have to do everything alone.
Be choosy about the team that supports you: teachers, coaches, extended family, close friends. Pick a team that will support you and work with you in your parenting, not ones who oppose you or shame you.
Recognize the strengths in your “team mates”. If your child chooses to open up to a listening grandparent or cousin or coach, be grateful that they are talking to someone. You don’t always have to coach your child’s team, especially as they get older; sometimes kids listen better to a coach who is not mom or dad. If you’re trying to give your child music lessons, but they are not cooperating, maybe it’s better to let someone else do the job for you.
I homeschooled my kids for four years until I realized that it was not what was best for our kids and for our relationship. For me, my team needed to include teachers who I could support and regularly communicate with regarding our kids’ progress.
You’ve Got This!
You may feel like a failure, you may feel defeated, you may even feel like it’s too late because you’ve fallen too far behind and you’ll never catch up. I’m here to tell you that YOU’VE GOT THIS! It is not too late to make a change in your parenting and in your home.
You may feel like you’ve been doing things right and you’re STILL behind. I’m here to tell you to keep doing the right things. Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint and you must not give up on doing what you know to be right.
Parents, your job is the most challenging thing you will ever do. But it can also be the most rewarding job you will have. You are stronger than you think and if you make the choice to go out in the second half and turn things around, you can succeed.