By Randi Rubenstein
Similar to the calendar, we humans cycle through different seasons in our lives. Our revolving seasons are a time of transition and change. We often look forward to the new season only to find that once it’s upon us, the fantasy we envisioned doesn’t quite match the reality of all that’s involved. For example, the sunshine and lazy days of summer also come with mosquitos and excessive heat — well, that’s the case in Houston anyway. And even though the winter might involve skiing and snowmen, it can also be dreary, gray, and depressing. Point being, with each new season there are both positives and negatives.
This is true for new parenting seasons as well. Babyhood involves so many honeymoon moments. But, it’s also known as baby boot-camp because it’s freaking hard work! Many of us excitedly anticipate our babies entering the toddler season and finally a full night of sleep. And similar to the mosquitos of summer, we quickly learn about power struggles, whining, and picky eating. So as parents, how do we embrace and grow as we experience the new parenting season’s mosquitoes and heat?
I believe that most of our parenting challenges — bedtime battles, morning mayhem, power struggles, and picky eating — can usually be linked to entering a new parenting season without a realistic plan. Just like you wouldn’t head to the beach in Galveston during the month of July without loads of sunscreen and mosquito repellent, you have to have a proactive plan as you enter your new season with your kiddos. And even though we didn’t wear sunscreen in the ‘70s and ‘80s or use bug repellent, those things are now the norm. It might be time for a parenting makeover in this new season upon us as we create the new norm when it comes to raising confident and kind kids in our changing world.
If your kids ignore your simple requests, it might be time to evaluate the new season upon you and learn some more effective communication methods. If it feels like your people don’t seem to listen until voices are raised and tempers flare, it’s because the outdated model for raising kids is well overdue for a makeover. Our world is changing more rapidly than at any other time in history, and that’s why the old-school methods simply fall on deaf ears. Our kids are different than we were because our world is very different.
Let’s say you decide to wear your winter clothes in May because you grew up in Chicago, and May in Illinois is still sweater weather. Now that you live in Texas, that beautiful cashmere sweater feels like pure sweaty misery if you wear it in May. The seasons are very different in these two states. Well, the same is true for raising kids during the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and even the 2000s. The parenting wardrobe that was perfectly comfortable during those seasons are producing miserable results in your current seasonal environment.
This new season involves a “new parenting conversation,” where you’ll experience cooperation without aggression. Have you ever worried that your harsh words are accidentally extinguishing your kid’s bright light? This new productive parenting convo feels better for a reason. It’s a more effective way to raise the innovative thought leaders that our kids will grow up to be in a future season.
The “old parenting conversation,” the way most of us were raised, was designed for a different season. It was simply the way things were done back then. The history of the old parenting model is rooted in a world where the objective was to raise compliant factory workers: be obedient, listen to authority, and keep your mouth shut so you will grow up and have job security. Refuse to comply and risk being fired and becoming homeless.
I have yet to meet a parent that dreams of their kid growing up to live a life wearing baby-blue zip-up jumpsuits and punching a time clock. No, no. We are raising innovators, thought leaders, and problem solvers.
The old parenting conversation involved threats, rewards, punishment, and bribes because that season for parenting in our country was preparing our kids for a simpler world. It was a simpler season in many ways. Cling to those methods, and you’re clinging to fantastical thinking rather than embracing our new season. Our new reality.
The new parenting conversation is fresh, friendly, and progressive for the season of growth and innovation we live in right now. The future season is bright. Embracing this new season for raising kids and being willing to undergo a parenting makeover is the equivalent to being the change you wish to see in the world.
Your parenting makeover begins by subscribing to Mastermind Parenting Podcast on iTunes
Randi helps parents, particularly ones with a strong-willed kiddo, learn tools to raise confident, kind, and self-motivated kids by improving the conversations in your family. As the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap, Randi helps parents keep cool and replace old patterns. Randi’s parenting motto is: “When our thoughts grow, the convos in our home flow.” Facebook