I have been struggling beyond words lately (which some what explains my absence in this little space of mine) because I’ve been in the discipline dumps and recently experienced a HUGE parenting epiphany. I AM NOT A PRESCHOOL MOM… I mean I am, I have two preschool aged children, what I’ve recently realized is that I’m not confident in my abilities to parent this age. Up until a few months ago, I was almost overly confident in my parenting style and knowing what worked for us and the babes. I was feeling like “I’ve got this ALL under control” and not truly understanding where others’ were struggling.
And then bam… seemingly overnight, I lost it… I lost all that confidence and I wasn’t handling situations well at all. Easton has been having epic meltdowns and I’ve been right there next to him melting… Everly’s random sassy attitude is enough to send me to the looney bin and Easton’s angry actions towards others during his episodes have caused me to rage and regret… I’ve lost all ability to parent in the way I want, peacefully but firm. This is not who I am, these are not my core parenting values, this is not who I want to be as a parent. So where do I go from here and how do I redefine what works for me as a parent to preschool aged children?
My grand epiphany has brought me to realize that while completely confident in parenting newborns, infants, babies, pre-toddlers, and toddlers, I’m not quite sure how to parent, mainly discipline, my preschool aged children. I think this is because of two reasons…
1.) preschoolers are rad individuals – they’re actually little human beings, with opinions, feelings, and needs that they can now voice and project. While some may say “so what”, for me, this realization is huge… Up until now, I’ve been able to pseudo-control situations, especially public ones with diverting attentions or changing minds or holding or putting in the carrier or taking away the stressor etc… I was always able to quiet the meltdown or shift the need to a later time. Preschoolers have needs and wants and when they spot something or set their mind to something, you better believe nothing is getting in their way… and if it does, you will suffer the wrath of an angry preschooler…
2.) I haven’t really had to truly discipline yet… we’ve just always had boundaries and up until now, we’ve had two easy kids that tended to stay inside the boundaries.
I’m at the point with disciplining my preschoolers that I know what I was doing is no longer working… Everly is pretty easy and learns quick so timeouts were simple for her to understand when she would “step outside the boundaries” and Easton is a pleaser and lover so usually a quick timeout and hug was all he needed to curb his behavior. These things no longer work… Timeouts now elicit bloody murder screams, physical aggression, and anger (from them, not me)… lessons are not being taught and behavior is not being changed. This is no longer serving us… We’re no longer listening when I ask once, twice, three times to stop behaviors, we have no regard for the consequence that may follow and that’s partially do to me not always following through with the threat. I’m totally guilty of convenience parenting when needed to either avoid the public meltdown or so I can finish what’s needed to get through the day. These things are no longer serving us.
Yelling also doesn’t serve us… I am human, losing it and yelling is the last resort but that tends to be a lot these days… I feel more at my wits end than I ever have and I know that it’s because I’m not giving myself the tools to handle the new phase of life that we’re in, preschool parenting. (not sure that’s a term, but I’m coining it ha)
While I don’t know what method of discipline currently works for our family, I do know the type of parent I want to be. I want to be a loving mom but firm, one who teaches my children to love and respect by showing them love and respect. There are at least three definitive values I want to always keep in mind when exploring new discipline tactics… boundaries: I want our kids to know boundaries and understand them and appreciate them, respect: I want our kids to be respectful of people and things, and finally Love: I want them to know that they are loved and I want them to radiate love to others.
So here I am, a preschool parent… No clue what I’m doing and not even sure where to start… If you came to this post for answers, I’m so sorry, I don’t have them yet but I’m hoping that my epiphany and recent struggles can help you know that you aren’t alone! I do however have a plan moving forward so I’m going to share these resources with you below. I don’t have proof or knowledge that they work… this is just my plan! I’ll write a follow up post in a few weeks once I get through this material and then another follow up with how it’s helping (if it’s helping) our family parent better. And please! If you have materials, books, methods, or thoughts, please share! I’d love love love to hear other resources for learning and paving this new area of parenting and disciplining.
Here’s what I’m currently reading, listening too, or participating in or plan to read to help fill my tool belt to adequately discipline and keep a positive mindset while parenting.
** And yes, all the articles above are written by a very awesome mama whom I’ve been lucky enough to meet and share a few good laughs with! Wendy from Fresh Start Family has some amazing insight on parenting and discipline and I highly recommend checking out her website and resources!**
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