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Confidence in parenting

(10 Posts)
gandalf456 Wed 25-May-16 14:32:53

I have two DC. DS is 7 and DD is 12. I have gone through varying stages of lacking confidence in what I am doing with them - from when they were babies to now. I've never been a particularly confident person so it's not just about parenting but I feel that becoming a parent has really brought this trait out. So, really, I am looking for strategies.

To help, I'll give you a couple of examples. DD had a tantrum over something that happened at school and was lashing out and throwing things around her room and, whatever I said or did, I could not stop her. This went on for about an hour. Earlier in the day, I had taken DS to school with a friend and they were mucking about. Again, I could not control them but, halfway through, I managed to get a handle on them.

Going back to when they were babies, DD was very unsettled, particularly at night, waking several times. She still is very attention seeking and there are still many occasions where I feel I can't get anything done while she's in the house. Sometimes it gets to the point where I can't get in the shower or cook dinner, for example. Cooking is a particular flash point and, with DD, she should really be over disrupting my cooking time by now. It doesn't help that I absolutely hate preparing meals and both of them are far too fussy and the whole thing seems like a waste of time.

When both of them were toddlers, they were very tantrum-y and often felt like 'that parent' and I still do.

I just feel as if I work harder than most parents and get nowhere and there are many occasions where I feel too exhausted and strung out to enjoy it or to enjoy an active social life for myself.

I do work but only part time in a job that pays the bills. I could not have a career and can't see how anyone would have the energy but then they are not me.

I am not particularly close to other parents I know or my work mates but get on with most people on a superficial level. I'll meet up with people occasionally but the strong bonds that other people have with female friends is elusive to me. I did try to connect with people when DCs were tiny but was a little bit put off by the competitiveness of people and the fact that I felt everyone was doing better than me and coping better.

corythatwas Wed 25-May-16 15:53:36

Best strategy I know is "fake it till you make it". Don't wait until you feel confident: put in a bit of acting. Choose your character: I used to visualise one of those very competent female headteachers- tweed suit and years of experience, completely unshockable because they have seen it all before, yet will stand no nonsense- and just act that part. Worked surprisingly well. I still go into acting mode sometimes when dealing with teen ds, in the sense that I project a confidence that I don't really feel (and then feel mildly surprised when he actually goes and does as he is told).

The essential properties of my ideal HT-character are: doesn't raise her voice in an emergency but puts more steel in it, never pleads, never threatens anything she cannot carry through, rarely threatens anything at all (because this lovely HT character I wish I was is so confident she doesn't have to), doesn't argue the toss, ignores any fussing, looks mildly bored in the face of a tantrum. Sometimes my performance is quite convincing (at other times I dry and fluff my lines, but never mind...).

If a 12yo disrupts your cooking, give her jobs to do. Or better still, suggests she takes over the cooking once a week and chooses a recipe. When you are cooking, make it about your own pleasure, so you are at least getting something out of it.

gandalf456 Wed 25-May-16 21:03:35

Thank you. I might try your suggestions re the HT.

I do give my 12 yr old jobs, which are met with resistance so I always say the best way to help is to let me get on with it until I've finished.

purpleme12 Thu 26-May-16 01:02:45

I find the only way to deal with their need for constant attention/playing with is to embrace it, throw yourself into it and make yourself enjoy it. You have to make yourself get into that mindset sometimes. Well I've not found anything else that works with mine. If cooking I guess I either put tele or ignore whining. All this helps with confidence and behaviour. If you're focused on them you're not thinking about other people.

Walking.

Bring really affectionate to them, physical contact. That helps me.

Mine is 2 and a half. You might think I'm talking total rubbish but they work for me. I guess I am saying fake it like someone above. But for that to work you need to just focus on the children and enjoy them (or make yourself if you're at a crappy stage)

DorotheaHomeAlone Thu 26-May-16 01:14:50

Great post Cory. My eldest is not yet two but I'm going to start using your HT model for tantrums I think. Sums up the approach I've been driving for perfectly and should seem less personal that way.

OP, I'm still very new to patenting but I think everyone feels overwhelmed and outgunned by their kids sometimes. Do you have much rl support?

gandalf456 Thu 26-May-16 14:10:10

Support? No. Not really. Occasionally I can get a babysitter or do the odd playdate and have one have mine back but mostly I manage as they're bigger now. It's that overwhelmed feeling when they misbehave that I struggle with

gandalf456 Wed 01-Jun-16 17:10:03

Argh. I really think it's the teenage tantrums. I've posted on the teenage support thread even though it's a bit early. This morning, I got told to shut the fuck up for telling DD for the nth time to do her homework. In the end, she did one piece but that was after throwing stuff around and bashing the computer mouse. I was supposed to take her shopping today but cancelled as why should I reward the behaviour? I do follow up with consequences but it makes not one iota of a difference. She was very creepy and apologetic after but, no doubt, will do exactly the same thing tomorrow.

purpleme12 Wed 01-Jun-16 19:54:47

Oh that sounds hard. I've not got to that stage yet so don't really have any advice but I sympathise I'm pretty sure I'll struggle with that too!

purpleme12 Wed 01-Jun-16 19:56:36

I guess the thing I would say is figure out how you feel and make sure you try to do things to make you feel better ie if you feel angry or pent up a brisk walk might help or a bath if you feel upset etc etc. Can't advise on the child's behaviour but that can help you

gandalf456 Wed 01-Jun-16 20:10:36

I'm going for a walk later. Thanks. Hopefully it will help

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