It’s not easy to practice what I preach when it comes to parenting. I have worked with parents for years and taught dozens of parenting classes. Does that mean I always do the “right” thing? Absolutely not. Knowing what to do, and doing it, are two very different things.
Like the rest of the stressed out and sleep deprived moms out there, I fall victim to the lure of immediate gratification. Oftentimes I just want the crying to stop NOW. I hear the voice in the back of my head scolding me for rewarding bad behavior. But in that moment I DON’T CARE!
So when we know what we should do and still don’t do it, where does that leave us? How can we take back control of this situation?
Get more sleep. Bahahahaha! I know, easier said than done. I seriously believe that the amount of sleep we get has a huge impact on how we parent. Regardless of your parenting style or what discipline strategies you use, being sleep deprived will make you less effective. I might be a behavior analyst with over 10 years experience, but on 3 hours of sleep I’m lucky to know my name, much less anything about parenting.
It’s easy to ignore a tantrum on 3 hours of sleep. Said no mom ever.
Get your kids to sleep more. Yes, we are still talking about sleep. If your child is not sleeping through the night or has stopped napping at an early age, this should be one of your top priorities (if not THE top priority). Two reasons this matters so much: First, if they aren’t sleeping-you aren’t sleeping. More sleep for them=more sleep for you=better parenting. If I still haven’t convinced you that your own sleep matters, please go take a nap and read this again. Second, with all else being equal, a child that gets adequate sleep will be happier and more well-behaved than a sleep deprived child. More sleep for them=better behavior=less parenting required 🙂
I’m so excited my kid has decided to drop their afternoon nap. Said no mom ever.
Expect mistakes, but learn from them. Whether it be due to sleep deprivation or some other reason, we all give in when we know we shouldn’t. We are only human. The key is recognizing our mistakes and learning what we can do different next time. When you get a moment to reflect (yeah right), take time to analyze exactly what happened. Were you extra tired or distracted by something? Were they tired or sick or teething? Did you forget your “plan” for how you meant to handle things? If you can identify what might have gone wrong, you will be better prepared to do things differently next time around.