So the first day of PET class is in the books. And it went very well. As it turns out, my husband (Z) and I are the only ones in the class, which we actually like. There are two instructors, both lovely ladies who in addition to teaching parenting classes are Doulas and birthing educators. We got along very well with them well, which is always a plus! Our first class was spent going over the basics of what the course is for and laying out what our goals are. Next we discussed what we consider to be acceptable and unacceptable behaviors in our children – which is completely subjective and personal. Not surprising, behaviors can move between the two extremes depending on several different variables. For example, I hate it when my children put their feet on me. Even I think that seems silly and yet… it just drives me crazy. My husband doesn’t have that problem. The kids could put all their feet on him at once and it wouldn’t phase him one bit. From here we moved into problem ownership. One of the most important ideas they teach is how to recognize who’s problem it really is and then based on the answer use the appropriate tools. Z and I had a great discussion on the way home (we drive a little over an hour each way to attend the class) about some of the issues we are facing in our home and who’s problem we think it is. It’s really not as easy as it sounds. For example, children not going to bed at bedtime.. who’s problem? The parent’s? The child’s? Or both? Feel free to leave your thoughts – I can’t tell you the right answer, I’m not sure. But it’s really interesting to think about. Our homework this week is to notice things that change what behaviors are acceptable vs unacceptable and when we run into problems try to recognize who’s problems they actually are. If you want to learn more about P.E.T., I highly recommend reading the book. If it really resonates with you, as it did for me, look into attending a class to really get some in depth training and practice (see Gordon Training International for more information.)
Tag Archive: growing up
To be completely honest, I am not happy with how I am parenting. I love my kids so much that it hurts sometimes. But being a parent has never felt comfortable for me. The responsibility to help such a small being develop into a fully function adult is overwhelming sometimes. I want them to be good hearted and kind, I want them to be polite and generous, I want them to be strong emotionally so that whatever life throws at them they can handle. I want so much for them and it’s so hard knowing if I’m doing the right thing. Or knowing that sometimes I am, but sometimes I’m not. I forget sometimes that they are only four, that they don’t know better, that physiologically and psychologically they CAN’T know any better – they are still getting there. And yet I still have these throw down screaming matches with them because I just don’t have my shit together yet and somehow I expect them to. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t spend all my time beating myself up for these things – but I know I should do better – I can do better – and that they deserve it.
It seems like every age is hard when you are in the middle of it. Right now my girls are four years old and it’s hard sometimes. I love my girls dearly and I try to enjoy the moments… most of them at any rate. To be honest, they aren’t all enjoyable – sometimes they just downright suck! Those are the moments when you think to yourself, “just get me to the other side.” When the kids are screaming, not listening, throwing tantrums, not listening, being careless, did I mention not listening? And I know, they are four… these behaviors are normal and just part of learning how to interact with their environment and others in it. But sometimes normal four year old behavior is hard to handle. And don’t even get me started on when they are sick! As a mom I feel helpless during these times – am I doing the right thing? Maybe I should be more strict? Maybe I should be more lenient? I should definitely rein in my language – seriously, I rarely cussed before I had kids. The strongest sense of helplessness I’ve felt (lately) is during night terrors. I don’t know if they are officially night terrors, but they definitely have some of the characteristics of them. One night, maybe 90 minutes after going to bed, Heather started screaming in her room so I went to check on her. I tried to console her, even though she wasn’t awake (because it makes me feel like I’m doing something). Then she started crying, asking “Where are you mommy?” over and over again. I kept telling her I was right there even though I knew she wasn’t aware of me. And it was painful. A kind of pain that I had never felt before I had children – that I wouldn’t have believed was possible before children. I wanted to protect her and be there for her… and I couldn’t do a darn thing. Eventually it passed and she calmed back down into sleep. But that… that was hard. But in the hardness, in the moments of our greatest effort, we find our own strength. We find that we can make it through the tough times- maybe not in the way that we would have liked – but we can make it through them and learn. We learn about ourselves… we learn about our children… and we learn that hard is not a word to be feared. It’s just another four letter word.
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