There comes a time, or two or many, when families reach a breaking point. It is never intentional. In fact, families want to be successful in all their endeavors and their daily work. But life happens. At times it happens at lightning speed without anyone noticing it. Not only do things pile up, but emotions are put aside. Relationships are neglected. Schedules are wrapped in busyness.
You don’t have to wait until you reach your limit. You don’t have to wait until your children have a meltdown day after day. Learn to read the signs. Heed to clues that are present everywhere.
Tension from within running high: External circumstances are only results of what starts from the inside. Tension is really a matter of personal changes that affect what goes on the outside. Main things first. Listen to your body. Are you experiencing more body aches and pains than usual? Do you feel tightness in your chest or muscles? Are you forgetting to do your tasks, which are part of your routine? Are you feeling slow or sluggish?
Overall cooperation is low. When family members aren’t doing their share, you may need a parenting reset. If you are left to do it all yourself even when everyone has been assigned their role, it is time to re-evaluate. As soon as you begin to hear more “no’s” or perhaps people are ignoring each other, something needs immediate attention.
Challenging behaviors have increased. For the most part, you as the parent know what to expect outside of any big crises. You know how many meltdowns and tantrums occur on a weekly basis. But when 3 misbehaviors become 7, you must hit the pause button. Siblings are fighting more. Parents are yelling constantly. Each individual is willing to helpless. These are all telltale signs of a need for a parenting reset.
With these things being said, there’s no need to be hard on yourself. Every parent faces adversities. Just this past summer, my family and I suffered through the loss of my mom from cancer. While we had incredible support from our community, our lives became very hectic. We didn’t notice how much screen time we gave our children. I am sure it was way beyond what they could even handle themselves. Family time took a back seat. Our mental and emotional well being was last on our list. In other words, we were in survival mode.
When I work with families needing a reset, I remind them that now is not the time to play the blame game. It is no one’s fault, to begin with. I talked myself through the same steps. Consequently, there are more helpful ways to do your parenting reset.
Inform your partner and other adults in the home about how you feel. If you live in a two-parent household or there are other adults besides you, the first conversation must be between you. Ask for their feedback and observations. When I began to feel unhappy about our situation, I turned to my husband. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just my personal feelings getting in the way.
Involve your children in your reset. The solution doesn’t rest solely on your shoulders. What makes a plan more effective? When everyone takes ownership of their contribution to your family, you increase the chances of participation. Let your children voice out their opinions in a safe space. Make a list of their suggestions. Talk about why these would work then make a final decision.
Discuss what is going well and what can be improved. Problems can cloud judgment. The brain will error towards highlighting all the negatives. The need for a parenting reset doesn’t mean everything is going wrong. As you meet with your family, remember to point out what sustains your bond and connection. Mention your strengths as a family.
Track your progress. It’s helpful to be patient when you are evaluating structures as well as boundaries. It will be very beneficial if you also track your progress. Use your calendar to monitor quality time, rewards and purposeful activities.
Give others permission to call a family meeting. Your children look to you for good leadership and stewardship of the family. You are in charge of your home but you can delegate various obligations. In giving others permission to call a family meeting, you are in fact saying out loud that you value each individual as much as you value yourself. Let your children, partner, and other adults that they can arrange a discussion anytime the family falls behind on tasks. Anytime someone feels that previous agreements aren’t being followed, they can summon you. This is a great way to get your attention in a positive way.
The goal is an adjustment and not a total makeover. When you have younger children and teenagers involved, you have to prioritize the important habits that truly affect your family. A total makeover can be in your goals list, but a parenting reset isn’t made for that. The goal is to make adjustments with your existing resources. What are you willing to add or remove from your schedule? What chores are you going to teach your children? What new skills can the entire family get on board with?
Your needs do not have to compete with your children’s needs. Their strengths can complement yours. Getting a system in place requires everyone’s consensus and effort. Remain steadfast and fine-tune your reset as many times as you see fit.