The Super Whites The ordinary life of a Super Mum

The Super Whites
Kebab throwing

Thank you all so much for your comments on yesterday’s post, I love that I can just blab my feelings all over the internet and have friends chime in with support and stories that make me feel less like I should apply for Poor-Parenting-Of-The-Year-Comp and more like we are all in this parenting thing together.

I am not quite sure why I felt the need to explain myself on the smacking issue. Its a subject that has had a lot of media coverage here in Australia recently with a call to ban smacking based on new research that physical punishment by parents is to blame for a third of all child murders in the last 14 years in New South Wales.

Personally I don’t judge anyone else’s parenting choices but it has been a suprise to me to realise that smacking doesn’t work for me. Like many other parenting decisions I had strong opinions about discipline before birthing Amy. I remember driving back from a friend’s wedding over Easter in 2006. It was very late at night, we were driving back to spend the rest of the weekend with friend’s, it was dark and the roads were quiet and Ron and I passed the time talking about how we wanted to raise our children and we both agreed we didn’t want to practice angry parenting. That didn’t mean that we disagreed with smacking at all, but just that all parenting decisions needed to be made in a calm state of mind and not in the heat of the moment. I certainly wasn’t against the thought of a smack on the hand or leg in an appropriate situation.

Fast forward to raising the actual child and its a different story. Smacking Amy or losing my cool when dealing with her has made me feel so much worse than I ever anticipated and as a result I strive even harder to remain calm and to walk away the moment I feel myself losing my cool. Its hard not to lose patience occasionally and even though I have AMAZED myself with the amount of tolerance, patience and gentleness I have discovered in myself since becoming a mother, there is no doubt that the nagging banshee that once threw a kebab at Ron’s head in the middle of a heated argument on Clapham Common has been known to make an appearance during bathtime, or a rather difficult naptime!

After last night’s blog post a great friend sent me an email which really got me thinking. In this email she quoted a writer who made the comment that children raised in a household with no real shouting or fighting often struggled to deal with conflict later in life. With no life experience to deal with anger or frustration they dealt with their emotions in other more negative ways and as some of you commented, needing to explain your own regrettable actions to your children allowed you to be held accountable for your behaviour. This is a great way to teach children about their emotions and how to control them, deal with them and manage the fallout from them. The email went on to quote the writer (I paraphrase) that we should strive to to be a great parent 80 percent of the time and the remaining 20 percent we should allow ourselves to admit that we could do better and to move on!
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6 Responses to Kebab throwing

  1. Lucy says:

    Sarah I am now in fits of laughter about the kebab incident!! hilarious. xx

  2. Fe says:

    I live by the 80/20 rule. And it really helps me feel good about achieving the 80% rather than bad about achieving the 20% (did that make sense?)

    Glad you feel loved.

    Here’s another one for you…

    Boo was throwing a HUGE tantrum ( he was SUCH a tantrummy toddler!) and I LOST it. I yelled back and kicked a hole in the door. *gulp*

    We all stood there in shock. And then started giggling. Thank God. It could so easily have gone the other way (two screaming and traumatised toddlers).

    I ALWAYS apologise to my boys when I’ve been cranky. I make sure they know that I’m not apologising for being upset / angry with them (if it was because of their behaviour) but that I am apologising for reacting badly. And because of that, they both apologise too. To each other even. When I’m not around!!

    My parents STILL never apologise to me. And they did what that person in the email wrote about. They hid their anger and their fights. We always knew when it was going on, but it was behind a good two or three closed doors. And I have really struggled to be comfortable with dealing with my own anger.

    So… I think we’re doing okay. Don’t you? xoxo

  3. Super Sarah says:

    I never know whether to address comments in the comments, or to do another blog post, or go back to the commenter!

    Lucy, don’t forget, as Ron likes to remind me, that kebab still had the fork stuck in it so the incident could have been a whole lot worse!

    Fe, thats exactly it, the fighting behind closed doors, the whispered arguments, the turned backs, kids pick up on those kind of behaviours and really struggle to process it. Of course we shouldn’t encourage drop down, cage fighting types of arguments in front of kids, but sometimes a heated discussion and then lots of love and reassurance can really go a long way to helping kids become confident with their feelings.

  4. The Jackson Files says:

    I must admit to being a little tearful about this post (and I’m not even pregnant!).

    Although I joke about screeching at Jackson, I really do try very hard never to smack in anger. In fact, the only time that I ever actually smack him is when he spits at me defiantly, because as far as I am concerned that is just NOT acceptable behaviour no matter how old you are.

    The whole 80/20 thing really resonates with me.

    Lovely post S.

  5. Guera says:

    I love the 80/20 rule! I’ll latch on to anything that says that it’s OK not to be perfect. 🙂
    I’m dealing with quite a few 2 year old and 5 year old tantrums at our house and I’m ashamed to say the occasional 36 year old tantrum. Some days I feel like I’m pulling my hair out wondering what I’m doing wrong to cause or allow this behaviour, but I have to keep reminding myself that they are their own people and neither they nor me are perfect.
    I also think that all the worrying and thinking about whether we’re doing a good job is one for the positive column. All we can do is try. (Now I just have to beleive all that myself!)

  6. Fe says:

    I can also relate to the way that we think that we can work out how we’re going to parent before we actually have the children!

    I had a friend who was always yelling at her kids. Always. And instead of feeling sorry for her and offering her help and support, I was (internally) very judgemental. I shudder to remember that now.

    The greatest thing about parenting is that it changes constantly. I really don’t ever yell at my kids any more. I issue consequences and put them in time out. No debate. No backtracking. You can do that when they’re this age.

    And the biggest lesson that I learned? The one that made my life SO much easier? Never ever ever say “No! No! No! Oh alright… Yes you can have that chocolate milk / extra hour of tv / etc etc”. Truly. I went to a residential parenting programme and they taught me that. We know it theoretically, but it’s an incredibly difficult thing to do in reality. I started when they were about 3 and 4 and it made a huge difference. It was HELL for the first couple of days….. worst tantrums of their lives….. and then it suddenly got easier. Now I just say “What are the chances of me changing my mind?” (they’re kids! They’ve got to ask a couple of times!) and they say “None” and stop asking!

    (above paragraph written under the sub-heading “We’re all in this together”)

    xoxox

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