Don’t you always feel like the beginning of September is a “New Years Resolution” time? I’m totally not going to nag, I will plan and make dinner 5 out of 7 nights, I will introduce new veggies. I vow to change bed time and I double pinkie promise to never yell at my 4 year old, ever again, about baths. I took that PEP class so I got this whole parenting thing covered. My son will study French every day for 20 minutes, I will remind once and I will not repeat that reminder, I will deliver said reminder in a friendly and encouraging tone. This will most definitely work, son will study French because of my superior and evolved communication skills. Ca c’est tres bon! I WILL go to bed every night at a reasonable hour. I kommit to not keeping up with the Kardashians.
Now it’s October, we’ve had four weeks or so of a fresh start, how’s it going? Did you meet with some success? Even though you got a new parenting map, do you find yourself back in the forest of nagging and yelling?
If you are like me, your intentions are awesome, but implementation is a bit trickier. So I will share with you a cool Adlerian concept, we have our expectations (the way life should be) and we have our reality (the way life is) and all our anxiety and negativity and angst lives right in the space between. So what we can do is nudge each section a teensy weeny bit closer together. We lower our expectations: bedtime with four year olds are bumpy and annoying, I will be out of the house one night a week and let my partner take one night off a week. Then we raise our reality: I will start bedtime ½ hour earlier, I will be consistent with the timing, I will strategize with my partner so we deliver the same firm and friendly bedtime message.
Imagine then that you’ve nudged those two steps closer to each other, expectations are nudged a bit to the right and reality is scooted a teeny bit to the left. Then you minimize (not eliminate) the amount of anxiety and defeat you have to jump over to work on any issue that is hard and challenging. Remember, the name of the game is progress not perfection, be both easy and disciplined with yourself and watch your family climate get better each day.