Picking Your Battlesby Adam Riches
In many ways, choosing to pick your battles is a seriously good life lesson to learn. Parenting, if we’re honest, is a series of battles over a seriously long period of time, and figuring out which ones to fight and which ones to leave takes a lot of practice! Doing the whole parenting thing is utterly exhausting and you need to know you’re not going to always get it exactly right. Conserving energy is vital for getting through the day sometimes.
If you’re going to battle your kid, you need to take into account the wider contextual factors. I find when in the day it makes a huge difference to whether it’s worthwhile even engaging in correcting behaviour.
If the boys are tired and overwhelmed, the reality is that trying to get them to do certain things just isn’t going to happen. It may sound defeatist, but it’s the reality of parenting. Do I want an all out argument over something that, in honesty, is pretty trivial? No. Then I leave it. That’s not to say I completely ignore behavioural issues when the kids are tired, but is it worth upsetting them, not in my eyes.
Is it important?
One thing I’ve noticed as a parent is how quickly the most seemingly simple situation can escalate into an all-out battle. Picking up clothes and putting them away, putting socks on, eating (you know it) can all become massive issues very, very quickly!
When it comes to how far you push it, you have to think about if it’s worth it. Dinner times can go from being nice and relaxed to full-on arguments, but you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. When you’re tired yourself, you need to be realistic with what your kid(s) can and will process. Saving your sanity for another day is sometimes the better choice!
Looking at it from their perspective
Little people don’t process things in the same way as we do. Things we see as vitally important, they simply don’t. Similarly, things that they see as vitally important we can’t comprehend. Some of the battles I’ve had over the most trivial things is laughable. I think I get into the mindset that I need to win as an adult and sometimes, it’s just not worth it.
I’m finding that taking a minute to empathise sometimes pays dividends!
The pressure other people put on you makes you sometimes battle when you normally wouldn’t. Kids behaving in public, manners, all that stuff often lead to us engaging in skirmishes with our little ones. It’s funny how your standards suddenly leap when people make judgemental looks in your direction.
Battling your kids to appease strangers is pointless. I know it takes confidence, but you have to just ignore people. The older ones make you feel worse, but they’re irrelevant, it’s not worth the conflict and additional energy just to appease a stranger…you’re the one that’ll have to handle the tantrum!