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I'm doing the best I can. I'm not perfect.

well sounds like you have a perfect family with no problems and you have all the rights to brag on them as i would also ... and i do brag on my family but some families are not perfect and do have differences to deal with and i guess i do


Many people approach parenting as though all we can do is guess and then do the best we can. Parenting is a huge responsibility and we don't want to screw it up!


But there's a difference between doing the best we can do and doing the best we can do with the knowledge we have at the time.


If we believe we do the best we can do, then if someone comes up with an idea that they say works better we feel GUILTY. A better idea means we didn't do the best we could. We were bad parents.


So we protect ourselves and say to others "No, I'm doing the best I can. I'm not perfect like you seem to think you are."


BUT if we turn our thinking around and trust that we're doing the best we can with the knowledge we have at the time then we can free ourselves to listen to people who have found something that works even better. We acknowledge that we aren't perfect. We acknowledge that our choices aren't the best that are possible.


I think it helps to look at the parenting that we're doing today as like a finger in the leaky dike. A finger is the best we can do with what we have right now but we're on the look out for something better. Like maybe a big rock. That won't be perfect either, but it will be better than the finger. And the rock will serve until we can find something even better, like someone who will repair the dike in the best possible way.


So we acknowledge that what we have is imperfect, but we're always looking for something that works even better.


If we see someone's suggestion of a rock for the hole in the dike as a criticism of us using a finger, it's going to be very hard to move onto a better solution. We're going to stay with the finger because we did the best we could. And to acknowledge there's something better is to take on guilt that we didn't pick the rock in the first place.



I want to be a perfect mom...I pray for more patience....


Perfection is unattainable. Making a better choice this time is doable.


Patience can be like paint over rotten wood. More patience is just a heavier coat of paint. What you need is new wood beneath.


Three things will help replace the rotten wood:


1) A mental shift in your expectations and how you view your child.


A small child sees the world differently. A knocked over glass isn't a mess, it's an experiment in gravity. It's a big reaction to a small action. It's a shiny colorful puddle that may leave a ghost of itself



Get into their world. See what they see. Feel through their needs. What's it like being so small and helpless that you must rely on the indulgence of others for even the simplest things like a glass of water or going to the bathroom.


Anger, frustration, lashing out is a desire to control what can't be controlled. It's not healthy to shove down that need and pretend it isn't there. What you need are techniques to let go of the need to control -- like above, but others might have better ideas if you give specific examples. Let go of the expectations that a situation will run a particular way or people will act as you expect or want them to.


2) Change the environment rather than focusing on what you can't change: your child.


See the child's actions as communication rather than pushing buttons. They may be trying to meet a need, let you know that they have a need, or are frustrated a need isn't being met.


Change the environment. The fewer things there are to say no to, the more peaceful the home and you and your child.


If a child keeps doing something that bothers you, see it as a need and either find a way they can do it safely and respectfully or something else they can do instead. If a child is writing on the walls, rather than focus on what they can't do, focus on what they can do instead. Do let them know the wall is a no, but redirect them to what they can do. They aren't being bad, they just have needs they can't figure out how to meet. Put up longs sheets of butcher paper. Find places where they can write on the walls. Put up some wall board. Make sure there are lots of places and things to draw on.


3) Be aware of the build up inside you. Get to yourself before you reach the yelling stage. Do something else.


If you do 1 and 2 there should be fewer and fewer 3s. But when you feel angry, give your child a hug and think of a specific thing you really love about them. Or change the environment. Distract both of you with something different. Make some change to get you off the path.


I read a book that says that children often push your buttons to get you into the ring.


Even if that's occasionally true, that view of children is more likely to steer a mother away from her child -- to remove the buttons from reach -- rather than toward -- helping him meet a need.


Don't see it as pushing buttons. See it as communication. They don't yet know how to tell you what they need. They may not even know what they need. The solution isn't to pull the buttons out of reach but to move in closer and help the child get what they need.


If a child is, day after day, "pushing buttons" my first guess would be they need more attention. Don't wait for them to ask (by annoying you). Give them an abundance of attention. Some kids need more touching and direct interaction than an adult may guess. Children are inconvenient. It helps to let go of the idea of making them more convenient. But we can help them be more joyful by tuning into their (inexpert) communication and either fixing what's irritating them or getting them away from it.


If the pushing buttons is a right now thing, go through the most likely things: hungry, tired, antsy and help them move towards joy rather than adding to the irritation.



Joyfully Rejoycing
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