As we get close to Thanksgiving we often think about how grateful we are for the people in our lives. As a preschool parent there can be times when you love your child, but you don't like your child. Today we focus on those difficult times.
In a society where everyone puts on a smiling "Facebook" worthy face you can feel like an outcast or terrible parent. You are not alone by any stretch of the imagination! Your child is always on the go, getting into things, maybe even has a disability or just has out of control tendencies, and you haven't had regular sleep in a year. It happens to more parents than you think and parents are often afraid to share their negative emotions which makes their experience even more difficult and isolating.
This is not a cure all, but one important step during these times is to notice what you like about your child at this age. Everyday (and I know you don't have spare time) try to take a deep breath and focus on something your child did or said that you love. If all your inner voice repeats to you is how tired you are and how frustrated you are that little Sara or Tyler doesn't listen, hits other children, never eats meals, and wakes up every hour; it's hard to carry on. It's impossible to be the parent you want to be.
What is your child doing well? It could be drawing, learning to pump on the swing before his or her peers, maybe your child is really good at being funny and likes to make others laugh. Can you provide more opportunities for those experiences? The more you focus on the good things, the more you will see them. It's like when you get a new car that is a make and model you never thought about before. Once you own one you see that make and model everywhere.
The next step is to try to tackle one issue at a time. You may need to talk to people you can trust. Depending on the level of issues your family is dealing with that could be anyone from a preschool teacher or your child's pediatrician to a behavioral therapist. There can also be help online, but be careful. If someone promises a quick fix look elsewhere.
Here is a good place to start for common preschool issues...
In the meantime... remind yourself what you did well today. Did you keep the children safe, make all the meals, get everyone outside for a walk or time at the park? If you did, you accomplished more than many parents while in the throws of caring for young children. Look for the good and enjoy the little person you have. It may seems unending as you go through it, but it really does go by in a blink of an eye and you will want to remember the positive moments each stage.