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25 Secret Parenting Tips You Won’t Find in Conventional Parenting Books

25 Secret Parenting Tips You Won’t Find in Conventional Parenting Books

I’m sure the majority of parents will agree that being a mom or dad is one of the most amazing and life-fulfilling roles you’ve ever experienced!

But you know what would make your experience even MORE enjoyable? Having someone share with you a few secret parenting tips to let you know you haven’t failed or gone loony, that you will rarely hear about elsewhere. So I’m going to step up and be that someone for you. You’re welcome.

1. It’s okay to break down and cry sometimes.

cry

    Being a parent is an emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting job! Sometimes it’s going to feel like you’ve got so much pent up inside, you’re about to explode. The solution? Cry it out. It’s not a sign of weakness. Crying allows you to release stress, and more often than not, you’ll find yourself feeling better and more relaxed after a good, healthy cry.

    2. The newest, most expensive baby toys will actually be for YOUR entertainment.

    baby-box

      Your baby isn’t going to care about the $500 Super Saiyan, Multi-Spin Rider with glowing rims & satellite radio, as much as he does the box it came in. Babies looove boxes. Oh, and they just can’t get enough of the paper cups, orphaned socks, and colorful washcloths!

      My kid’s 13. You think he remembers his Super Saiyan, Multi-Spin Rider? Not so much. What he does vividly recall are the times we danced the “Numa Numa” around the family room, and going outside to blow soap bubbles. So invest that extra cash in your child’s future and enjoy your baby getting a kick out of the simpler things!

      3. You’re not a bad parent for NOT enjoying “every moment that they’re little.”

      upset mom

        If you suddenly see little monsters with horns sitting at the breakfast table instead of the sweet angels you so adore, don’t panic! Sometimes, even the cutest, sweetest ones aren’t very pleasant company. Know that EVERY parent has had bad days (Yup, even the ones who appear to never have them!), so don’t be hard on yourself. It’s not like you’re going to take em to the animal shelter and put them up for adoption, right? Right?

        4. Saying “No” won’t traumatize them.

        saying-no

          Teaching them rules and boundaries is necessary for their emotional and mental growth. They may pout and cry (or throw a full-blown tantrum), but don’t give in to your little one’s plea for a slice of chocolate cake right before bedtime. Constantly saying “Yes” however, will encourage them to grow up to be spoiled, entitled adults. Standing by your “Nos” is also a great lesson in respect, as well as respecting other people’s boundaries.

          5. Giving your kids some alone time does not equal abandonment.

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          alone time

            As a matter of fact, this is crucial for the development of independence. Alone time empowers kids to truly enjoy being creative in the moment as well as encourage self-sufficiency. Kids who learn this are able to face time on their own without feeling sadness or panic. For younger children, alone time is when they are able to relax or entertain themselves without help from parents & caregivers who are in the same room.

            6. You don’t have to be perfect in front of your kids.

            Homer-Simpson-wingnuts-doh

              Here’s a perfect opportunity to teach your children by example. Show your kids that mistakes can be used as a stepping stone to something better, by identifying the lessons in the mistake and making improvements for a better outcome next time. It’ll encourage them to problem solve and grow their self confidence!

              7. It’s okay to give yourself a time out.

              tired-mom

                Have your kids read a book, color, or build with blocks while you take a few minutes to meditate, catch a show on TV, or just zone out on the laundry room floor. You’ll feel much better after a quick breather—plus your children will learn that when feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it’s healthier and more productive to take a break and come back recharged!

                8. Don’t let your child play on your cell phone without first limiting access.

                cellphone

                  Unless you’re comfortable with everyone in your phone book receiving a “jir3pwdn $WEhfw Ssssssss” text message from you, put a limit/lock on your phone before giving it to your child. Otherwise, don’t come cryin when your boss gets a hold of that selfie #fail you never got around to deleting.

                  9. Tell your vegetable hatin’ child NOT to eat his veggies.

                  spinach

                    “Finish all your spaghetti and… wait, I’m not so sure you should be eating the spinach. That green stuff can make you so strong, it’ll give you super energy when you’re playing at the park and swimming at the pool… do you think you’ll be able to handle all that awesomeness?”

                    Answer will almost always be “Yeah!”… and works with almost any food.

                    10. Nap time is when you get stuff done.

                    cleaning

                      Most people will tell you to sleep when your baby is sleeping. Sure, if you want to get NOTHING else done in your life! Fold laundry, meditate, take a shower (remember that?), read a book, get updated with all the drama on Facebook—and yes, sometimes cuddle naps with the kids to recharge your mind, body, and spirit!

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                      11. You will be unable to escape from the power of cute.

                      linda honey

                        You’ll do your best to keep a straight face, but inside, your heart has already melted and is running down your leg. It’s okay to fall under the spell—just don’t forget to take a photo, video, or write about it on social media so you can appreciate their special power forever.

                        12. Your kid who had nothing to say to you all day will suddenly want to tell you a story when you’re on the phone.

                        phone-tips

                          Give your child an activity such as coloring books and puzzles to keep her occupied while you are on the phone. In all honesty, nothing really worked for me for very long, so I scheduled both my personal and business phone times during my child’s naps.

                          If you have a trick that’s worked for you, please share in the comments below!

                          13. You can have fun without the kids and still be a good parent.

                          datenite

                            Balance is important in maintaining a healthy mind, body, and spirit. You are a parent with little people depending on you, but that doesn’t wipe out the fact that you are still… you! So don’t feel guilty! Go out dancing, catch a movie, have dinner with your significant other, or a girls night out!

                            The better you take care of and feel better about yourself, the better you will be able to give to your children.

                            14. You’ll suddenly know the names of all Pokemon characters.

                            pokemon

                              Or any other show, movie, or video game your child will become obsessed with. And you know what? That’s OK because knowledge is power. Granted, it’s power that is useful only in their kiddie world, but your child will think you’re the bomb-diggity—and THAT in itself is pretty powerful.

                              15. At some point you will accidentally hurt your child and you’ll feel like the worst parent to slither across the Earth.

                              sad baby

                                Whether it’s by snapping at them after a stressful day at the office, or tripping over them because they blended in with the floor pillows. It happens to the best of us, so forgive yourself. Apologize, make certain your child understands that it wasn’t intentional, give them a big hug, and do something that you can enjoy together to mend the hurt and lift the mood.

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                                16. Always bring a change of clothes not just for your kid, but also for yourself.

                                spitup

                                  Kids are messy and dirty; they leak goo and other stuff from everywhere. And there is a good chance they will contaminate you too. Always keep at least an extra shirt for yourself in your baby bag—or in a bag kept in the trunk of your car. You’ll thank me for this.

                                  17. You will make noises and faces just to see your baby smile.

                                  giggle

                                    You’ve seen the silly, new-parent portrayals on TV. Well, that’s you. And you’ll do it again and again just to see your little one crackle, smile, and laugh so hard, he farts in his diapers!

                                    18. Your new found interest in baby poop will confuse and frighten you.

                                    diaper change

                                      You’ll be recording the time, amount, smell, color, and the consistency. And don’t be alarmed if you find yourself celebrating a good diaper full of poop at times. Don’t worry, this phase will pass—pun intended.

                                      19. You will have the highest highs and the lowest lows—all at once.

                                      moodswings

                                        Parenting can be highly stressful, emotionally overwhelming, and spiritually uplifting—all at the same time. It’s normal and there’s nothing wrong with you. Just step back, give yourself a time-out like we talked about earlier, and resume. Ain’t no thang!

                                        If you feel you’re unable to deal with the mental or emotional stress, please confide in people you trust or seek professional help. There’s nothing to be ashamed of and it’s really a very courageous and responsible thing to do. The earlier you get help, the better it will be for you and your children.

                                        20. No matter how much baby-proofing you do before your angel is able to scoot around the house, she will find the one thing you didn’t baby-proof.

                                        baby_proof

                                          Sure, you might find her feeding your tampons to her dolls and stuffed animals and using your panty liners to cover her boo boo. Just make certain to keep all medication, chemicals, and sharp objects out of your baby’s reach.

                                          21. Sleep deprivation will begin to feel like mental and emotional illness.

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                                          crazycrazy

                                            Earlier I suggested you take advantage of your kids’ naptimes to get things done. If you’re sleep deprived and unable to function, scratch that for now and nap with them. It’s OK to put off doing laundry and leave the dirty dishes for later. What’s the point in having a load of clean clothes when you’re not able to function properly? Don’t assume there’s something wrong with you or that you’re not a good parent. Get some rest and re-energize!

                                            As stated earlier, if you’re unable to deal with the mental or emotional stress, please confide in people you trust or seek professional help. There’s nothing to be ashamed of and it’s really a very courageous and responsible thing to do. The earlier you get help, the better it will be for you and your children.

                                            22. Time alone in your car becomes a mini vacation/therapy.

                                            a young woman driving a car

                                              Just driving out to the supermarket on your own will make you feel like a brand new person! And discussing life’s most important issues—with yourself, while waiting to pick up your child from school in the car lanes—is OK too! You’ll be surprised at all the clarity and great solutions that results from self-therapy!

                                              23. You will compare your baby against all others and know yours is the best.

                                              stage mom

                                                Regardless of what anyone else might say, this is NORMAL, and you will be absolutely RIGHT! Way to go for having the BEST-KID-EVER! #highfive

                                                24. Always give your kids your undivided attention.

                                                listen

                                                  This will help your child build trust as well as self confidence. Let’s try to avoid the answering while eyes are glued to your text message, or half grunts from behind the newspaper. If ever you are unable to give your undivided attention (work, phone call, guests, etc.) let them know by saying something like, “I’d really love to hear about EVERYTHING you have to say, so will you give me a few minutes to finish this up so I can give you all of my attention?”

                                                  My child grew up with this. And now he gives the same respect and consideration to those who ask for his time and attention. It really works—children really do learn what they live. And it’s pretty awesome.

                                                  25. Seal your special bond with a secret handshake, dance, or code word.

                                                  secret dance

                                                    No matter how silly it is, no matter how old they become, this will be something very special just between you and your child! Priceless!

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                                                    Carmen Sakurai

                                                    Mental Declutter, Stress Management & Burnout Prevention Coach. Feeling Stuck? Overwhelmed & No Energy? Let's Talk!

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                                                    Last Updated on August 20, 2019

                                                    How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                                    How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                                    Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                                                    Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

                                                    I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                                                    You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                                                    Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                                                    When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                                                    I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                                                    Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                                                    Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                                                    Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                                                    1. The Inner Critic

                                                    This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                                                    • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                                                    • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                                                    • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                                                    • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                                                    The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                                                    Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                                                    2. The Worrier

                                                    This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                                                    The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

                                                    3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                                                    This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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                                                    This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                                                    The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                                                    4. The Sleep Depriver

                                                    This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                                                    The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                                                    • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                                                    • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                                                    • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                                                    • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                                                    How can you control these squatters?

                                                    How to Master Your Mind

                                                    You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                                                    Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                                                    There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                                                    • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                                                    • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                                                    This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                                                    The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                                                    Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                                                    For the Inner Critic

                                                    When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                                                    You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                                                    For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

                                                    You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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                                                    “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                                                    If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                                                    • They rile up the Worrier.
                                                    • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                                                    • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                                                    • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                                                    • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                                                    Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                                                    Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                                                    For the Worrier

                                                    Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                                                    Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                                                    You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                                                    • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                                                    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                                    • Muscles tense

                                                    Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                                                    If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                                                    Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                                                    “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                                                    Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                                                    If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                                                    Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

                                                    Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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                                                    For example:

                                                    If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                                                    “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                                                    Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                                                    “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                                                    Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                                                    For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                                                    Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                                                    The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                                                    • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                                                    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                                    • Muscles tension

                                                    I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                                                    Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                                                    Breathe in through your nose:

                                                    • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                                                    • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                                                    • Focus on your belly rising.

                                                    Breathe out through your nose:

                                                    • Feel your lungs emptying.
                                                    • Focus on your belly falling.
                                                    • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                                                    Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                                                    Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

                                                    One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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                                                    Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                                                    For the Sleep Depriver

                                                    (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                                                    I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                                                    Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                                                    1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                                                    2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                                                    When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                                                    From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                                                    For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                                                    If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                                                    You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                                                    • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                                                    • Shut down your thinking.
                                                    • Calm your feelings.
                                                    • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                                                    The Bottom Line

                                                    Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                                                    You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                                                    Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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                                                    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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