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ParentsCanada - April 2015

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.com 27 A lemon can power a light bulb. Sometimes in our failures, we give our children a chance to grow." Rene agrees. Recently, she'd noticed that a friend had put up a Facebook post that read, " 'I really like the way my household runs when I'm not there,' said no mother ever." Rene called her on it, pointing out that kids need to have the lee- way to make mistakes. "If they oversleep and are late for school, they pay the consequences," she says. "They've got to learn those things and there's no better way than learning them fi rsthand." What's the takeaway here? Next time you're late coming home from work and can't make dinner, don't feel guilty. Order a pizza – or ask your teen to make dinner – and chalk it up to experience. ON-THE-JOB TRAINING Babies don't come with a user's manual, so why do we expect ourselves to know everything? Rene's experience with her fi rst baby was similar to that of many new parents. She felt inexperienced and inadequate. She had trouble nursing and needed the help of a lactation consultant. She was tired. "But you know what I really needed? Time. I really just needed time to relax with my baby and fi gure out what she needed." We need more than time. We also have to remember that development isn't a straight line, and we're always going to encounter unexpected pitfalls. Michael provides a great example: If a fi ve-year-old has an anxiety disorder, it's pretty easy to deal with. But we have to remember that there will be lapses whenever a big change happens, such as when they start high school. We need to stop seeing them as failures. "Always expect the unexpected," he says. "Because that's the nature of what we are as people." KIDS ARE SENSITIVE TO OUR STRESS Children pick up on so many things. From infan- cy, they're more in tune with our emotions than we could ever fully understand. And, according to Michael, that's not always a good thing. It means that your child has to deal with your emotional heavy lifting. "I'd rather less guilt, more action," says Michael. "Do the best you can do, and have a good chuckle over what you failed at." Sarah Sawler is a Halifax writer and mom. With so many hats to wear, she's mastered the art of imperfect parenting, and she's totally OK with it. Most of the time. Sometimes laughter really is the best medicine. Learn how humour can help you be a better parent at ParentsCanada.com/funnyparents. B A B I E S D O N ' T C O M E W I T H A U S E R ' S M A N UA L , S O W H Y D O W E E X P E C T O U R S E LV E S T O K N OW E V E RY T H I N G ? Shutterstock/©Goodluz kindness ISSUE THE

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