Be the best parent

In the midst of the chaos that dealing with a person with a personality disorder brings, it is so easy to be frustrated. I often feel annoyed because it feels like he pushes into our lives even when he is in our lives relatively little.  This past Thursday, he raged  at my kids angrily again, and when that happens, it affects my children’s behavior during the time when they are with me.  My daughter acts out more – becomes more much more defiant – blatantly ignoring known rules.  My son retreats – he just wants to be home all the time and wishes he were back to being an infant who could snuggle in mommy’s lap and breastfeed.  He’s anxious and worried about everything around him.  He also shows me in his actions, what happened – he uses the words that his dad uses “fuk-it!” he yells at his sister, and he backslaps her head with his hand in the same manner she describes her dad doing to her.

It’s difficult not to feel frustrated, but I have to remember that they need, NEED one parent who can remain calm.  They NEED me to parent with empathy.  These are the things that I feel like they need from me the most:

1- Whisper, don’t yell.  Stay calm.  The more hyper and defiant my daughter is, the quieter and calmer I need to be with her.  She responds to my energy – maybe not right away, but eventually.

2- Be empathetic.  Consider why they are behaving the way that they are.  Everyone acts out because of feelings – sometimes we are ’emotionally aware’ and realize why we feel grumpy and short-tempered, and sometimes we don’t – even as adults.  It is hard enough to remember that I am feeling frustrating because he encroaches on our lives.  I need to remember that they have those same feelings going on inside of them – and that their behavior is driven by those feelings.  Look at what they are doing and consider what’s driving it.

3- Enjoy being with them.  Encourage them, love them.  When they need me, I try to respond with loving, open arms.  Give them that consistent, loving environment that they need but aren’t getting with their other parent.

4- Be truthful and consistent.  They don’t need to know every adult thing that goes on, but they need to know that they can trust in you.  I know my ex tells them things about me that don’t make sense to them – like “your mom and I are doing the best thing for you”.  When I hear this phrase “your mom and I”, I boil … because there is no collaboration (because he can’t do it), there is no “unified approach” (because he can’t), and there’s absolutely no communication between us (because he can’t – and I am working on doing ‘limited contact).  My kids need to know that what I tell them is the truth, that there are no secrets, and that they can count on me to be truthful if they have questions.   If it is something that is too young for them to understand – I tell them we will talk about it when they are older and they can understand better.  This brings a sense of calm to them.

5- Exhibit respectful boundaries.  Again … do what my ex cannot do.  Help them to remember what healthy boundaries are and how to respect others and preserve their boundaries.

I’m sure that there is much more – but this is what is coming to my mind when I think about what I need to do for my little loves.  It’s what I try to keep in mind as I am watchful and mindful of myself and my own feelings and emotional development (we’re all growing and evolving, right?).




One Response to “Be the best parent”

  1. Nicole says:

    Great tips. Couldn’t agree more.

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