What Behaviors Can You Ignore?

By RebeccaW, Parent Coach

When my son was three years old, I carried him to the car every morning with bare feet. In the freezing cold, in the rain, in the snow.

Before this started, putting on shoes to leave the house was a screaming battle. One morning I thought, why am I fighting this? I scooped up my barefoot son and walked out the front door. He stopped crying. When we got to daycare, the socks and shoes went on, no problem.

This was a huge lesson for me. Letting go of one thing made our lives much easier. Are there behaviors – as annoying and frustrating as they may be – that you can choose to ignore?

Allowing your child to get away with behavior you don’t like can feel like failure. But as a parent, remember this: You don’t have to fix everything, and parenting is not about perfection.

“If you’re seeking perfection as a parent, that’s not realistic. But if you’re aiming to be a better mom or dad, that’s really good enough.” – Janet Lehman, co-creator of The Total Transformation

If the list of behaviors you want to “fix” feels overwhelming, it can be very freeing to let go of a few issues. This allows you to concentrate on giving consequences for the big stuff; giving fewer consequences makes them more effective.

I encourage you to take a step back and think about what would happen if you chose to ignore certain behaviors. What is crucial and what is an irritant?

Here are some questions to think about:

  • What would happen if you ignored this behavior?
  • Do you need to focus on this?
  • Where else could you spend this energy?
  • If the neighbor’s child were doing this, how would you feel?

When you find yourself wanting to correct every concerning behavior no matter the size, take a moment to prioritize. You will be effective when you concentrate on the most important issues. The others? Take a deep breath and – for now – let go.

Wishing you the best this week,

Rebecca W., Empowering Parents Coach

About RebeccaW, Parent Coach

Rebecca Wolfenden is a loving Momma to her son and a dedicated EmpoweringParents Parent Coach. She earned her degree in Social Work from West Virginia University and has been with Empowering Parents since 2011. Rebecca has experience working with children and families in home settings and schools, and has extensive practice working with people of all ages who have survived significant emotional and physical trauma.

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