Parenting is not easy, but nor does it have to be as hard as we often make it.
Many of the things we end up struggling with are not the result of our experiences or our child's behaviour. It is our thoughts and perceptions that create the real tension.
Our mindset sets the tone
Have you noticed you can have the exact same thing happen two days in a row, and you respond totally differently?
One day you take it in your stride but the next you're completely frazzled? Or you see the humour in a situation that the previous day reduced you to tears?
The situation hasn't changed but YOU have.
Your mindset in that moment affected your experience. Perhaps your emotional tank was full and so an act of inconvenience went unnoticed, but another time when you were feeling depleted, this same act was the ‘last straw’.
Your inner dialogue tells you these things always happen to you, or your child is ‘out to get you’. Your mind has run away on you and you react as an unsettled, rather than calm parent.
Our mindset can set us up to struggle from the outset. If we have a mindset of ‘this is going to be dreadful’, chances are we'll find it to be true.
Our mind is a powerful thing!
This is why we need to be cautious of whose messages we are letting onboard.
A very real example is society’s image of the ‘fourth trimester’, the 12 weeks after birth. Women hear so much about how hard this time is and how much they will struggle.
If they don't question it this mindset accompanies them on their journey. We are not saying it's an easy time, or discounting the very real struggles new Mums face. But if we approach it with the mindset of ‘this is just a season’, or knowing that baby is a person to build a relationship with rather than a series of problems to ‘fix’, the struggles become just an element of the story, not the main component.
When we are battling, whether with our child or in our own head, it is useful to stop.
When we've hit the pause button we can examine our mindset. Where is this reaction coming from? We can weigh up whether our response is reasonable, and look at how we can remedy it.
A change in mindset may be all that is needed.