Despite the plethora of parenting books, advice and information available on how exactly we should parent our children, there truly is no manual that can provide a concrete answer for every situation. As parents we have to live and learn, make tough desicions and keep the interests of our children at the forefront of our minds at all times.
Sometimes the right choice for the situation is clear and other times its a long and bumpy road to find our way to our a-ha moment, when we finally realize how best to proceed. My mom has told me more than once about her 'spilled milk' a-ha moment, when she realized that her frustration over my clumsiness was coming at a cost of my insecurities and anxiety; so she made a change. Similarly, I recently shared an a-ha moment; my experience learning to trust my instincts as a nurturing mama.
I think we all understand the concept of an a-ha moment, so when I stumbled upon the Aha Parenting Website and Newsletter, I was intrigued. After a quick browse around the site, I signed up for the newsletter and I've been recieving useful tidbits of information ever since.
One of the first newsletters I read was in response to a reader inquiry from a family of four where the potty-trained toddler began peeing in the vents, then eventually peed on his little brother. Now the boy isn't potty trained, but I could immediately see the relevance for our family and began filing away the information in the recesses of my mind. The newsletter touched on why spanking and timeouts wouldn't work, then why sticker charts won't work and finally explained that in order to effectively diffuse the situation the parent needs to acknowledge and honour the child's emotions with love, words and actions.
So when the baby boy had been home a mere two days and the boy started having a pre-nap meltdown, I decided to take the aha parenting advice to heart. I gave the boy a huge hug despite his tears and flailing arms and I simply talked to him. I told him that both Daddy and I loved him very much and that I knew he was upset and angry that the baby was taking up Mommy and Daddy's time. I explained that no one was going anywhere, that we were all a family and that Mommy and Daddy were always there for him. I'm not sure exactly how much of our talk he understood, but he quickly calmed down, gave me a hug and crawled into his bed. As he was laying in bed he said 'baby' a few times and even tried to say his brothers name (the first and only time so far).
A week later, and the boy is still barely acknowleding his baby brother, but after our chat, there really hasn't been any more emotional and unexpected meltdowns. Pretty amazing, the power of words.