Parenting help – remember it’s a phase!

Advice for new parents

I was asked recently what advice I would give to a new parent to stay calm and cope with the challenges of motherhood.  As a mum of 5, the one phrase that comes to mind over and over again is “it’s just a phase”.  When one of them has used a swear word for the 10th time to get a response, I remind myself “it is just a phase”.  Or when another has pulled down his pants in the middle of the playground and done a huge wee right by the other kids. I say to myself “it is just a phase”.  When my eldest began answering back big time I had to stay calm and keep saying “it is just a phase” even though I know this phase could last a long time!!

Difficult behaviours do CHANGE

The beauty with having had quite a few kids is that I realise now that all the challenging times and difficult behaviours do CHANGE.  No matter how bad things seem, there will come a time when you realise that things have changed and that you and your child have moved on.  How many times did you feel like a certain behaviour was just going on and on and then a few months later you suddenly realise at some point it just stopped. 

For instance I cannot remember the day that one child suddenly stopped biting other toddlers when he was about 2,  I cannot remember the day when another stopped caressing my breast for comfort,  I cannot even remember the day I stopped breastfeeding them, I cannot remember the day when one child stopped whining and used words clearly and succinctly – all these things just silently and gracefully stopped.

I remember when my eldest was a baby he developed colic when he was about 6 weeks old.  After 3 nights, a well-meaning friend tries to comfort me by saying that colic normally goes by about 12 weeks.  At that time I felt that 12 weeks seemed like an eternity – how was I going to cope with another 8 weeks, 56 more days of inconsolable crying?  I remember wishing that the time would pass quickly but feeling like time was going so slowly. As it turned out, as soon as I stopped consuming dairy products his colic went completely and so he only had it for about a week.  However the point was that it was just another phase that passed and I coped.

It will pass

So my advice is no matter how bad things get, it will pass. I do not mean that you can just ignore it and hope it will go away – there is still a huge amount of parenting, explaining, communicating and loving that needs doing. However the reward is that once it has passed you will get a new peace (even for a short while).  Plus you will have learnt new coping strategies and found different ways to teach them how to deal with life and you will have grown as a parent. 

So the next time you feel like their tantrums are driving you nuts, or they refuse to eat anything green, or they repeat words they have heard in the playground, take a deep breath.  Let it out.  Repeat.  Then remember that it is just a phase and think of it as an opportunity to help them find a new way to manage the situation and for you to grow as a parent.

As testing as it can be, bringing up children, remember they are just learning and exploring.  Forgiveness can be a powerful tool for both yourself (don’t expect to be a perfect parent and get it always right) and them (testing the boundaries is their job. It’s how they find out where the world is).   Take a moment in the day to give and receive a hug.    It’s a powerful thing and you can find out the benefits of ‘hugs’ here.

Do you need some help to recharge your own batteries, sleep better and feel great?  If you feel like you could benefit from feeling better and more energised listen to our Relaxation and Stress Management audio tracks as they definitely help.

Maggie Howell

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