Happy New Year! As we start a new year, for many people that includes setting intentions and goals for the next year. For you and your family, that may include improving nutrition, exercise, or sleep. We often pick things we are unhappy with and give ourselves an impossible challenge that we cannot live up to, thus often giving up before the end of January.
With children, you are constantly faced with the unexpected. Every step along the way may feel difficult. You are growing and learning alongside your child, especially if you are a first time parent.
There is a saying “Hindsight is 20/20,” and that may often feel like the case with kids. Looking back it doesn’t seem like it was that difficult, but when you were in the thick of things, it seemed like an uphill battle. I recently had that feeling with my little one at the swimming pool. I realized that when he was a baby, it was easy to get him to do things, whereas now as a toddler who can talk, reason, and hold his own stance, there is nothing I can make him do. I can extrapolate that feeling to more than just swimming – running errands, going to school, sleeping and to a point, even to eating. I also realized that there was more room for error when my little one was a baby. If I didn’t like how I acted in a situation, I was able to amend it the next time. Now, if my view changes, I often will get, “but last time…” thrown right back at me.
Children are constantly learning and growing, and we are as well. It is a learning process, where parents grow as people as we navigate the world of parenthood. Parents need to accept that although consistency is important for kids, it is okay to have a discussion that previously things didn’t go as well as we wanted and we are trying something different this week or even asking for a do-over in the moment.
Strategies for eating often can be used in other scenarios of parenting. Over the next few weeks, I will be discussing situations parents often deal with regards to eating when you need to stay consistent and draw boundaries. Dramatic emotions like screaming, crying, jumping up and down, and whining often cause reactions from parents, and often parents end up debating if they handled things correctly. This is especially the case when dealing with eating issues and often parents are left wondering if they handled it correctly. What are situations that leave you feeling that way? I would love to hear your comments. Next week, I will be discussing “hunger” right after a meal. Until then, happy eating!