Shifting From a Scary Mama to a Listener

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Not too long ago, an epiphany had hit me like a ton of bricks. This was the moment that I had realised that a big change was needed, especially for the sake of the children.
So, what had happened for me to come to this realization?

It is as simple as our decision to move house, which ultimately means that our children will also be relocated from their current preschool into a new one. Well, I at least, was under the impression that it would be a simple move.

It is a decision, and subsequent response, that has lead me to question my parental stance and the way that I have been parenting for the last 4 ½ years.

Why?

scary-mama-to-listenerWell, my beloved eldest daughter, who possesses a personality very similar to that of my own, has always needed a little ‘extra adjustment’ when a sudden change ensues her. Extra adjustment in the sense that she does not want to be left alone, demands extra attention, cuddles, and of course, wants mama to be around every waking minute. That is all good and well, since I do not mind the affection. But, I was beginning to assume that my little girl was having anxiety issues.

These issues have decided to rear their ugly head again in the last 3 weeks or so. This time, escalating to the point where she would have an outburst and make herself literally sick. It breaks my heart witnessing her go through so much unnecessary stress and worry. What would happen if something more serious were to happen?

After seeing what this darned stress had the potential to do to my girl, I started thinking about new approaches and solutions that I could offer as a mother. From then on, I knew that change on my part was imminent, and I needed to take a serious stance against this potentially crippling problem.

Not that I did not take her seriously before. I always tried to be sympathetic and reason with her, but at the back of my mind, I would think that she would grow out of it sooner or later.

Now, I can really see the stressor in her (just like I have gone through my childhood, adolescence and adulthood) and I worry.

I want to be the mother that will offer love, support, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and kind words to soothe and offer advice. Through those beautiful and sometimes tearful eyes, I can see how much she needs me, and I do not want to let her down or turn her away.

Before that moment, I tried to be a tough sort of mother, and it is not like I was overly strict, but I have begun to see the impact of this ‘tough stance’. I will admit it now, I was a yeller. In my opinion, I do not think that tough love is an overly productive response. I feel that a more nurturing, calm and loving approach is the way to go. I do have my tough days, as does any other parent (or human for that matter), and my children were not placed on this earth to be my emotional punching bag. As much as I said before how I was going to avoid my parents’ mistakes, I was beginning to steer down that path.

My children need my love, understanding, support and presence – or most simply put…they need ME. They need me to be happy, confident and stable in both myself and my perceptions as a mother.

Along my journey after this great big epiphany of mine, I have also come across other blogs and articles that only inspired me, but also reassured me that I was not alone. The Orange Rhino Mom has written a fantastic piece about what she has learnt in the last year that she has stopped yelling at her children, and The Woman’s Day has mentioned that even though some habits may be hard to break, but we can all take small, simple steps to avoid unnecessary yelling and moments of anger.

I love taking the time out to both teach and learn about the world around us – in the time that I spend in talking and listening, as opposed to yelling, I can see that I get a better response out of them. Instead of being the scary mama who yells, I am the one who listens, laughs, talks, draws, explains and experiences the simple pleasures with my children. I see the confidence and joy they go through whenever they master a new skill.

I much rather prefer the positive parenting approaching – I spend the time celebrating and encouraging the children’s strengths as opposed to focusing on what they may be doing wrong. Even though a potentially big change is just around the corner, I am quaintly confident that we will all go through it with minimal fuss and tears… and if there are some tears, I will have the tissues ready and we have a great big family camp out in our new home that is waiting to be filled with new memories.

“The best way to raise positive children in a negative world is to have positive parents who love them unconditionally and serve as excellent role models” – unknown

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