Everyone fights. It’s a part of life. Regardless of your temperament, your situation, your age or your attitude, you are bound to clash with the people you love at one stage or another.
As a mum who has been there, fought about that, and managed to come out relatively sane, here are my top tips on how to get along with everyone in your household, regardless of your situation.
New Parent Problems – Fights in the First Year
Becoming a parent is undeniably the most amazing experience in the world. But it is also one of the hardest. And with this massive change comes potentially massive arguments. So, what can you do to avoid the anger and focus on the positives that come with being a new parent?
Accept ALL the emotions that come with being a new mum.
One of the main reasons new parents argue, especially during the first few weeks, is because they are exhausted. And with exhaustion comes a whole slew of other emotions – anger, resentment and frustration. Society (and social media) put a lot of pressure on parents to keep it together all the time which makes it even harder to admit defeat and accept the truth – being a new parent is freaking hard! Sorry society, but it is. And that’s the truth.
So, rather than trying to keep it together, concede that you are tired and you need a break. And acknowledge these things to the person who can support you through this – your partner. Admitting you need support doesn’t make you a weak parent. It makes you a real one.
Just keep talking.
Often the feelings during the first year (exhaustion, confusion, isolation, to name a few) are left to fester inside rather than be discussed. When communication breaks down, fights happen simply because you are not talking about the problem. Problems hate to be ignored. And when problems are ignored, they often get worse (kind of like toddlers).
Make it part of your daily routine to talk to your partner about your day – the good, the bad and how you can make tomorrow better.
Stop competing and struggle as a team.
When both you and your partner are tired, it often becomes a competition about who has it harder – the person who goes to work or the person who stays home. Stop. Just stop.
Take a step back. And remember this. It’s not a competition about who has it harder – you both are tired, struggling and barely keeping it together. So, struggle as a team, support one another and communicate your frustrations before you let them get the better of you.
Staying United When You’re Separated
Being a parent means you are part of a team. However, sometimes this team, for one reason or another, splits up.
As a separated mum, I can tell you that getting along with your ex-partner isn’t easy. If it was, you would probably still be together, wouldn’t you?
But it is necessary, especially for the kids. Here’s a few tips that have helped me and many other separated parents maintain the peace, even when the family unit has broken down.
Focus on the kids.
Don’t get involved in your ex’s day to day choices unless they involve the children. If it doesn’t directly impact your kids, then it’s none of your business.
Bite your tongue.
There is nothing worse than badmouthing your ex in front of the kids. Just don’t do it. Your children have the right to love, to respect and to form an opinion of a person without you doing it for them. Give them this right.
If you’re going to communicate with your ex, do it away from the kids.
Because even a quick conversation can turn into an argument when there is still a lot of anger and resentment. Don’t risk it and plan your discussions for when the kids are not listening.
Remember, a family is a family, no matter how separated.
Your ex is ALWAYS going to be a part of your children. It was a joint effort to make them and, in many instances, it will be a joint effort to raise them. Even if you aren’t living together, it doesn’t mean you aren’t still working together. You are. You always will be. And the quicker you realise this, accept it and find a way to make this statement work for you, the better for your children. This is what matters the most.
Keeping Calm with the Kids
In addition to fighting with your partner, you are bound to butt heads with your kids every once and a while. Fights about cleaning up, doing homework, helping out, respecting your authority and minding their manners are pretty standard.
And it’s also pretty standard to sometimes lose your cool, scream at the top of your lungs, take away every toy in the house and hide in the pantry eating all the kids’ leftover Easter chocolate as a coping mechanism.
But, for your sanity (and your waistline), it’s probably best to try these methods for getting along with your kids instead.
Understand ALL emotions that are in play.
This means both your own emotions and your kids’ emotions. Accept how you feel, then think about how they feel too. This can help you see things from their point of view and use your logic rather than your emotions, to tackle the problem.
Take time outs.
Time outs aren’t just for kids. They are also a great way for parents to regain control and allow the anger to settle before returning to the problem.
Remember who is boss.
It’s you. At the end of the day, what you say, goes. And “because I said so” is a perfectly valid reason why.
Don’t let their words get to you.
Is there anything worse than hearing, “I hate you, mummy!” from your child? It can be hard to remain in control and not burst into tears, go back on your word or turn into the mummy equivalent of the Hulk. But, take a deep breath and remember, they are just words. They don’t mean it.
When you and your little one both have calmed down, have a conversation about what was said, why it hurt and how you can solve conflicts without resorting to these angry gestures and awful words.
The Bottom Line?
No matter how much you love someone, you’re not always going to get along. It’s human nature.
How you handle these differences in opinions and resolve common conflicts will vary between households and circumstances. Sometimes you let the anger build up and get the better of you. Sometimes you learn to control your emotions and concentrate on finding a solution.
It’s not always easy to choose the latter option. But, for the sake of your family (and your sanity), we hope you try to.
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