The joy of parenthood seriously diminishes the joy of marriage. Surprised? Then you probably do not have children.
Babies add stress and lots of work, so no surprise that 68% of marriages deteriorate when baby comes home. The crying, the lack of sleep, the jangled nerves are real, but for many unexpected. This rude awakening starts when baby’s cries cannot be soothed.
Did you know that nature designed a baby’s crying to torture adults. Studies show that adults react to crying babies with raised stress levels that can reach painful levels.
Why? Because the adults so tortured are motivated to stop the crying. Most do so by tending to the baby. Most also experience great relief when baby can be comforted. When the crying cannot be comforted the parental stress keeps growing.
Here is an interested fact: how the adults think about (interpret) the baby’s crying is a reason in baby beatings. A crying baby that cannot be comforted makes all parents feel out of control. Stress grows is you need to feel in control. Most such baby beatings are done by men and by men who think the baby is crying on purpose and just to “get” the man in one other way.
The correct interpretation, of course, is baby is in pain. If hunger satisfies the pain, all is good, if it doesn’t, then the adults need to be able to tolerate the on going crying without blaming themselves. They need to do what they can to comfort the baby and then accept children are not controlled by parents.
To reduce their stress, parents need to put baby down in his or her crib, shut the door and leaving the sound of the crying. The experts suggest checking the baby every ten or fifteen minutes.
That bit of advice, did not work for my youngest son. He needed to cry for thirty or forty minutes in order to fall asleep. checking only added to crying time.
The frustrations of parenthood do not end when baby outgrows crying and starts to walk and talk. Very soon comes the terrible twos which can extend into the terrible threes, fours, and eventually the terrible teens. What to do? Read on.
PARENTING Thoughts and tips
Parents reduce negativity as their child moves toward adulthood by the constant use of two phrases: “Please” and “Thank you.”
Properly invoked those words reduce parental stress in two ways. “Please” recognizes the limitations of the ability to control and for many is the heart of prayer – a plea to God, the Force, or the Universe to help. For the child, it provides carries the message that s/he does have a choice when it comes to behavior.
“Thank you” essentially does the same.
The CARE plan sets out the proper use of these words, but particularly the use of “Thank You.”
As noted in the Poster Coach, the “Please ” can be said angrily. Angry words are a warning signal and much better than pretending you are cool, calm, and collected when you are seething.
Think back to your childhood for a minute. When did you know you had to toe the line. Your parents probably had a standard signal. It might be a raised voice, a lowered voice, a raised hand, or a pointing to the closet were the switch were kept.
Until the kids know you really mean what you are saying, it is all a game to see how long they can keep doing what they want to do.
A bit of anger as an “I’ve had it” signal is not evil. Tom Phelon’s One, Two, Three Magic works better however.
But as I note in my book Parents Are People Too, parents are not always calm, cool, and collected. So when you start seething, see that as a signal you might need to take a time out and if that is not possible to start praying to the God of your understanding until the child gets the message and does what is asked.
Then comes the “Thank you.” That, however, needs to be said without anger. It needs to be a generous recognition of the child’s better behavior. Mostly it can be part of ending on a positive note, but it can also be said as the child begins to behave.
How does this reduce negatively in children?
John Gottman, the guru of relationships and a recognized researcher, is most famous for his five to one rule. Lasting relationships have five pleasant exchanges for every negative one.
Negative interactions include: criticism, defensiveness, contempt, stonewalling, detachment, withdrawal of affection, and punishments.
Positive interactions include laughing, playing, and creating things together along with rewards, forgiveness, and making amends.
The balance is what matters and because children have to be kept safe and civilized and prepared for life in the real world, the balance can be toward the negative. The younger your child, the more you say “Please” and “Thank you,” the more you empower and make amends and correct the balance.
There is a bonus. Kids model you and your words become their words, your behaviors, their behavior.
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Thank you for all you do., Work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult and parenting a struggle.
This post was not inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt: Third Rate Romance: Tell us your funniest relationship disaster story.
It does relate however as for many new parents the betrayal of the joy of marriage by parenthood is ironic and in truth not so funny. But with humor snd effort, it can be overcome. Stay strong.