5 Bad Habits Parents Need to Kick to the Curb in the New Year

BY: - 13 Dec '16 | Parenting

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I have two kids and one on the way. I am not a perfect mom; far from it. I make mistakes daily. Sometimes, they are tiny, so I just dust them off and keep it moving. But sometimes, those damn mistakes make it hard for me to fall asleep at night. I stay up wondering if I did the right thing… if I made the right call.

But I try my best to not let it get to me too much. No one ever promised that motherhood would be easy. It’s hard as hell, and all moms know it.

Yet, as much as I think moms are too hard on themselves and that we all need to show ourselves some more grace, I have to admit that there are some parenting habits that just need to go. They don’t serve our children well and they also harm us.

Just because parenting is hard doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep striving to give it our best. I think once we decide to become moms, we owe our kids that much. They deserve our best effort.

So, moms, here are five parenting habits that you should consider kicking to the curb. You and your family will be better off if you do.

Yelling

I hate yelling. I also really hate the fact that I have yelled at my kids before. And as much as I would love to tell you that I never yell anymore, I can’t. It still happens sometimes. But it happens a lot less than it once did.

When you yell all the time, your children are more likely to not follow your instructions. They get accustomed to your yelling and just view it as your way of communicating with them. It also teaches your kids how to communicate with others, so don’t act shocked when you catch your kid yelling at his or her siblings. That behavior was learned from you.

We typically resort to yelling because we are angry or frustrated, but we have to think of the consequences before we raise our voices. It leaves you feeling drained, and it doesn’t show your kids anything positive about how to get a point across to the people they love most. I think all of our homes could use less yelling and more love.

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Comparing

When I was a child, I was constantly being compared to my brother. I am sure my mom and grandmother didn’t mean much harm by doing this, but it had a pretty significant impact on me as a child. Admittedly, I can still replay all the comparisons in my head. It was hurtful.

Now you may mean well, but comparing your child to siblings, other kids or even yourself as a kid isn’t helping at all. Let your child be who he or she is and just deal with any issues without the comparisons.

Comparisons make people feel like who they are is flawed and maybe they’d be better off if they were someone else. Don’t let your kids feel that way. Spend each day reminding them that they are special and that their flaws are simply a part of the human experience, not some defect in who they are as people.

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Disciplining from a place of anger

I don’t spank my kids. I have many reasons why, but getting into that would require another blog post. But this is not about spanking or not spanking. This is about not implementing any form of discipline from a place of anger.

Discipline is designed to teach your children why something they did was wrong. There should be a valuable lesson involved. When you start disciplining just because you are mad, the lesson gets lost. You are simply being emotional. And we are human, so I get it. We get angry. We react.

But as parents, we have to do better. We have to try and check our anger. We have to calm down before we determine what the best course of action is once our child has stepped out of line. If you can’t do it from a place of calm, maybe ask the other parent to intervene, but just don’t discipline when you are red in the face. It never helps.

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Failing to lead by example

The popular phrase “Do as I say and not as I do” is played out. You can’t yell all day and expect to have kids who don’t yell. You can’t eat a bunch of crap and expect your kids to eat veggies and water like they love the stuff. You can’t keep a terribly messy home and wonder why your kids are so darn messy. Your kids are going to do what you do. It’s really that simple.

Expecting them to only do what you say is unreasonable. Sure, many will follow the instructions of their parents out of respect, but please know that even those kids are getting meaningful lessons from what they see you doing, not just what you are saying. I think all parents, myself included, can do a better job at making sure our actions are in alignment with our words. It increases our credibility with our kids, and it also makes it a lot easier to have teachable moments when our kids choose to do something other than what we said.

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Being partially present

We have to try harder when it comes to limiting the distractions in our lives. Our kids need us to be fully present when we are with them. They need that more than anything else. So whether it’s social media, your devices, your work, the television or constant phone calls from drama-having family members, try to limit how much you allow these distractions to take up precious time with your children.

Eat dinner together. Talk to each other. Put the devices away. Set boundaries with extended family and work responsibilities. Let your kids know that nothing is more important to you than they are. Let them see when you are with them, you are truly with them, not focused on something (or someone) else. They deserve that time with you and you deserve it, too.

BMWK family, what parenting habits would you like to kick to the curb in 2017?

 

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 494 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a speaker, writer, lifestyle consultant, and ACE-certified Health Coach who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create healthier, happier lives. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at candidbelle.com. To work with her, visit her at martineforeman.com. Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.

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It’s Not Too Late: 5 Simple Ways to Give Back as a Family This Holiday Season

BY: - 20 Dec '16 | Parenting

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With Christmas rapidly approaching and the New Year just 2 weeks away, many of us are feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. Even if you enjoy this time of the year, the to-do list seems to grow daily and getting everything done in time feels like hard work.

All that hard work can actually make some of us feel a little down about the holidays. But instead of letting the long to-do list get to you, maybe you should shift your thoughts to others. Research shows that helping those in need is actually one of the best ways to help lift your own mood. Giving is receiving. When we give with an open heart and spirit, what we receive in return is immeasurable.

And what can make giving back even more special is doing it with the people you love most. It give you the opportunity to spend time bonding with your family, and it also teaches your kids that the holidays are not about how many gifts you can get. Kids need to know this season is so much deeper than that.

When we give with an open heart and spirit, what we receive in return is immeasurable.

Well there is still time for you to roll up your sleeves and give back. And it doesn’t have to happen in time for Christmas. You can still do a lot for families leading up to the New Year and well into the winter months. And since finding child-friendly places to volunteer can be tough if you have very young ones, all of these ideas are things you can with children of all ages.

Here are 5 simple ways to give back this holiday season.

1. Create care kits for the elderly

Although many elderly people living in nursing homes are visited by family members, many are not. The holidays can be so tough for those individuals. Contact your local nursing homes and find out if their residents are in need of some tender loving care. If they welcome your visit, you can find out what the residents might need and create care packages to take over. Things like a deck of cards, healthy snacks, holiday socks, lip balm, and even packs of tissue may be greatly appreciated. You can also come prepared to play a few games or just sit and chat with people who could really use some cheering up. If you bring holiday cards with you, that’s an extra special touch and your kids would probably love making them.

2. Donate new toys to a local shelter

This is as simple as it gets. Take your kids shopping for new toys and donate them to a local shelter. Call ahead to see what the shelter needs and when you can drop the items off. And you don’t have to spend much. Take the kids to the dollar store and give them each $10 to spend. Kids in shelters often don’t get much and sometimes having something new, no matter how small, is all they need to make them feel special.

3. Host a neighborhood coat & pajama drive

I did this last year and it was super easy. I reached out to all my neighbors and told them we were hosting a pajama and book drive for two weeks (you can also do coats, nonperishable foods, or other items). I then placed a box in front of my home with a sign on it and people dropped off items when they were able. My kids would check the boxes daily to see what neighbors dropped off. I did a little research and we found a local shelter that really needed the items we collected. We dropped everything off and that was that. This is a super simple way to help those in need by tapping into your neighborhood and asking your family to help.

4. Deliver meals

Although most soup kitchens won’t allow small kids to volunteer, your kids can help you prepare meals at home so you can later drop those off. Make calls to local shelters and churches, or ask your neighbors if they know of anyone near by who is elderly or sick. Once you know where your meals (or treats) are going, get busy in your own kitchen, package everything nicely, and take the kids with you when you make that special delivery.

5. Create activity kits for women and kids living in women’s shelters

There are many shelters for abused women and their children. Those kids and their moms could really benefit from activities that lift their spirits and keep them distracted for just a bit. For kids, you can create craft kits, art kits, science kits, or kits with fun and easy games. For the moms, you can create self-care kits, art kits, journaling kits, or kits with inspirational books and quotes. You have no idea how much this small gesture can lift a person’s spirit and make them smile when life has knocked them down.

BMWK family, what are you doing with your family to give back this holiday season?

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 494 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a speaker, writer, lifestyle consultant, and ACE-certified Health Coach who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create healthier, happier lives. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at candidbelle.com. To work with her, visit her at martineforeman.com. Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.

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