Pick your battles – some things are not worth fighting over
There are some days I think I have this parenting thing all sorted out. My teens seem happy, my tween is happy, Hubby seems happy and I am looking like I have everything under control. I wake up the next day and BAM – everything I thought was going well has turned to shit. I feel like some days all I do is fight with everyone. Learning how to pick your battles is a skill I am still getting trying to get a handle of.
The kids are fighting and absolutely hating each other.
Hubby is giving me stink eye cause I keep
blogging playing on my phone.
Even the dog is annoyed with me for some reason I will never understand.
Pick your battles they say. Well I’m trying to pick the right ones and sometimes I get it right while other times I should just pack a bag and hibernate. Raising teenagers is bloody hard.
Each child in my house is at a different stage and requires different levels of attention and space. What is good for one kid is not good for the others. No one told me parenting teenagers would be so bloody confusing and a skill I needed to master was how to pick your battles.
When my children were little, I was able to discipline them, teaching them what was right and what was wrong. Little children are quick learners (if they are in the right frame of mind) and most of the time life would sort itself out pretty quickly. I wouldn’t stand for kids talking back to me. I wouldn’t stand for telling little white lies. I wouldn’t back down when they had misbehaved. Recently we have encountered a few interesting battles and I am learning how to pick which ones are worth fighting over and which ones I need to shut up about and let it go.
- I won’t fight over what they choose to wear (so far not really short skirts have entered the wardrobe)
- I won’t fight over answering back anymore
- I won’t tell them off when they are being rude being they have had a shit day.
- I pretend to don’t hear swear words anymore (unless Grandma is around and then I pretend to mother of the year).
- I pretend their bedrooms don’t exist most of the time (unless I smell such a stench I can’t handle it anymore).
- I have let go of the food pantry – hopefully what I have taught them about making good choices most of the time has worked.
Honestly, I feel like my parenting has done a full 360. What I use to be very strict on and have to let go or else we will be fighting ALL THE TIME. I tell myself often to ‘Pick your Battles Nat’ – Is this one worth getting into an argument over?
These are the skills I need when it comes to being able to pick your battles carefully:
- Understand your child’s personality. Some kids will argue for the sake of arguing, so limiting what you argue about helps you keep one step ahead. Some kids shy away from arguing, backing down immediately. Some kids know just what to say to make you think they are listening but in fact will do the opposite. Depending on the personality, will depend on how often and what I choose to head into battle over.
- What is the result I am after? Understanding what outcome you desire helps me determine whether I should be arguing or not. If I am simply after a “I am right – you are wrong” result – not worth the fight. If I am after a lesson learnt that may impact them for health or safety reason – the battle is worth it. If it is something I know I am never going to achieve, don’t bother starting in the first place.
- Is the timing right? We all know with children, especially moody teenagers, you need to pick the right time if your really want to achieve a positive outcome. Timing can be the difference between having an awesome parenting moment and a complete breakdown in communication.
- Is it something that can end in a compromise? Arguing with your children is never nice and as they get older and more independent, everything becomes negotiable. Learning how to negotiate so everyone feels like they have won has taught my kids to respect what I want and I respect what they want. If this respect is lost, so too is the trust and negotiations turn into a demand/ control, system.
- Limit your strict rules. I use to work with lots of rules (probably way too many) but now I have only a few that are strict rules. By taking the pressure off myself and my kids, I have found that most of the time, our house runs quite smoothly. They all know what rules are there for their safety or mental health and the reason I have them.
Raising teenagers is a lot harder than I ever imagined and I am only at the start of my journey. Each day (well maybe every other day) I learn something new about one of the children and how they are handling life in the modern world. Some days I am picking the right battles and other days I make the biggest mistake ever fall back into arguing over something that is reality – is irrelevant. But I am learning.
How do you pick your battles with your children?