There are definitely moments when you just KNOW that it’s all going to turn shit-shaped.
You’ll be pleased to know that both my kids enjoyed their stint being billeted in a strangers house during their sports exchange last week, and I did too. And although I was happy to see them again, and pleased they were back in the house, when I heard, “I didn’t sleep at all,” I was hardly enthused for what I knew was the inevitable upcoming meltdown.
I tried everything. Saturday was a nothing day, relaxed, no expectations, and not asking too much of the kids at all. It seemed to work, and I was feeling pretty proud of my insistence that we had a calm day. And for two nights I had me teen and pre-teen in bed with lights out before 8pm.
However, it was never going to last.
I was always coming back to a place of asking for my children to be involved in the house-hold jobs, and no expectations, quickly turned into:
- light the fire
- tidy your room
- brush your hair
- empty your bags
- hurry up, or we’ll be late for soccer…..
And then the inevitable meltdown was ON!
I was hopeful for avoiding it, and for one day I did, but when kids get involved in new and exciting things, which include hours of PlayStation, and not much sleep, then it’s sort of inevitable that there would be a little bit of fall-out in the days following.
And I had two kids about to lose it.
Here’s the thing.
It was almost amusing in its predictable-ness and I got off lightly because I did a lot of stuff right. We had silent treatment, refusal to do basic jobs, and general scowling and backchat, but it wasn’t going to last, and in NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM, was I going to back down to rudeness and bad manners, or outright disobedience no matter how tired anyone was!
But I didn’t get angry about it either.
If something is predicted, inevitable and expected, then why would you as a parent buy into the drama?
Why would you give that behaviour attention?
Why would you be surprised by it, and then reactionary?
When you can feel an ‘Inevitable Meltdown’ coming, due to tiredness, change, or some sort of upheaval going in your lives, then put your wee little ducks in a row. Come up with an action plan. And then keep your emotions out of it.
Most of this kind of meltdown comes about because our kids don’t really know why they are ‘off’ or struggling, and they also can’t help the flood of emotions that overcomes them, but instead of looking inwards at themselves, they look ‘outwards’ to try and shift the attention and therefore the blame to someone else. If you allow it to, your child can successfully lay the blame for all of their shit, on you.
And this is a massive opportunity lost.
This is an opportunity for you to say things like:
- I can see you are tired from your trip, but that doesn’t mean that you can be rude to Dad.
- I know that you are struggling right now, but you will still have to tidy your room, and if it takes you all day to calm down enough to do that, then that’s okay, but you still have to sort it out.
- You are not being fair right now.
- If you can’t talk nicely then you can go to your bedroom
- I’m really glad that you had a good time this week, but because you had a really late night, bedtime is going to be a bit earlier for you until you have caught up on your sleep, and you are talking and acting nicely again.
If you get caught up emotionally then it becomes about you pre-teen fighting against YOU rather than realising that a trip away or a change or whatever else, is the reason for the feelings, and there are things they can do to get past this and back to their normal happy selves.
If you feel that you DO get caught up in the emotion of it all, and you get frustrated and angry, but really don’t want to, and would like some extra ideas and strategies to figure it out, then get in touch. Parenting is much more fun when we are able to have a sense of humour, and also an understanding about what do to, and when to do it, to get the best result out of a parenting situation.
You can ABSOLUTELY be the parent you want to be, and my 6 Week 1:1 Coaching programme can help you get there faster.
Stephanie Davis is the leading parenting expert on ‘Parenting by Personality’ and coaches parents on raising KICKARSE and SUCCESSFUL children at any stage.