I was sitting in a cab with a relatively random stranger. I say relatively because, although I knew her by name, I had just met her that day. We had both flown to Melbourne for the day to attend the Kids Business Bloggers Brunch. She was from Adelaide, Me – Brisbane, our flights home were leaving at the same time hence the decision to share a cab.
We spoke about business, blogs and babies. It had been a long day. After a 4am wake up call, I had struggled to get the kids organised before I left for a 6am flight. Master O, fiercely independent, was determined to dress himself. That was taking longer than I had time for, so the usual argument began. He yelled and threw an Oscar award winning tantrum. I fought with him, I dressed him. He was upset. I was stressed. Just another morning for a busy Mumma.
After a day filled with chatter and champagne, I was brimming with regret about the mornings circumstances, the way I had handled everything. How had I become that Mother. The yeller. The stresser. The unreasonable. I was doing everything, that as a teacher, I had always told parents not to do.
This kind stranger (who turns out to be Jodie Benveniste an author blogger and psychologist) gave me the MOST VALUABLE piece of parenting advice I had ever been given.
”You can’t control your child’s behaviour, but only manage your own.”
Yep. It’s not you, it’s me.
It wasn’t about the actual events, but how I handled it. It’s not about what the children are doing but how the parent reacts. I was so caught up in his behaviour (why did he always respond with a tantrum) I had forgotten about looking for the lesson. Yep. The teacher, me, forgot about the lesson. It wasn’t about him trying to slow me down. He was trying to be independent, a life long skill, and I was getting in his way.
Those words were pure gold disguised as advice. I bottled them up ready to be released the next time I found myslef getting lost amidst the motherhood mayhem.
Months later, this accomplished author and now trusted giver of advice released a new book. ”The Parent Mainfesto” She asked me if I would like to read a copy.
YOU BET I WOULD.
I steal a moment to peruse it whilst putting Little Miss A to sleep. Half an hour passes. I am devouring the words quicker than I can turn the page. Sometimes in my life my roles as mother and teacher meld seamlessly together. This is one of those times. I am reading it with two sets of eyes. There are words for teachers and words for parents. I instantly feel the urge to start highlighting and sharing with everyone!
I get to page 108 (yep she is still sleeping and I have not moved off my chair!) when I read about a “Maxim” for good parenting.
So how do you be the parent you want to be?
1. Be Warm and Responsive
2. Set Boundaries
3. Be Consistent.
Pure gold. You could easily replace the word parent with teacher. You need to develop relationships with your children by being warm, approachable, easy to talk to and engaged in their life. This is for teachers too. We all remember our favourite teacher. Chances are they were friendly, fair and nurturing. They cared about YOU, not just the curriculum.
Children want boundaries. Yes they will test them but they need to do that too. Soon they will learn (from you) what is and what isn’t appropriate in their behaviour, attitude and manner. As teachers there is a saying, “No smiles until Easter” This doesn’t mean they won’t be warm and responsive, but that the first term of school(just like your first few years as aparent) is the time to set the boundaries. Be a walk over now and you will pay for it for the rest of year as you spend your time diffusing arguments and trying to make up ground the rules department. They want you to guide them, they are learning too!
Once the boundaries are in place be consistent. Children don’t like surprises unless they are wrapped up as a birthday present. They want to know what to expect from you. This is true for parents and teachers. They want you to be firm but fair. The same behaviour will always have the same consequence. Their are no favourites, no good cop, bad cop.
The wealth of knowledge in this book is astounding. I want to copy it all and put it in a parent handbook. In fact, “The Parent Manifesto” should just be called the “Parent Handbook” It has a million ideas (ok so maybe not quite so many) of how to make parenting WORK FOR YOU. It is not a one piece of advice/methodology/program fits all. It is like a work book, to work through, to make parenting work for you!
So this is a story of me and I guess it became a bit of a review along the way, so I guess this is where I say.
“The Parent Manifesto is practical, endearing, insightful and brilliant. A must read for anybody who cares for children. Easy to read, it provides worksheets, templates and REAL advice on how to make parenting work for you. Five out of Five!!”
Larissa, teacher to many and parent to two.
This post is part of a blogger book tour (yep everyone else is loving this book too!)
Check out what others had to say HERE.
Or even better
Win a copy of “The Parent Mainfesto” by Jodie Benveniste here on “My Pigeon Pair”
Just leave a comment telling us your greatest parenting worry, problem, you know the confession of your MOTHER GUILT!
Competition opens Saturday 21st April at 6am and Closes Friday 27th April at 5pm.
Winners will be announced via the “My Pigeon Pair” blog