It’s tough being a mom. While you know you are doing your best, you also struggle with insecurities and fears — all part of a mother’s parenting journey. It doesn’t help when you hear these three dreaded words from your little one: “I hate you!” You know they don’t mean it, but it still stings. (Here's what to do when it happens.)
How to be a better mom
Don’t punish yourself, mama. Remember that there are no perfect parents. Instead, focus on making changes and improving. Here are simple ways to become a better mother for your kids, without having to lose yourself in the process.
1. Express your love.
A 2013 study found that moms who use more positive reinforcement during play had a stronger bond with their kids. “We know that children, regardless of culture, need to feel loved,” says lead author Jean Ispa.
Keep telling your kids how much you love them. Affection will never spoil your child — instead, it gives them a sense of security. If your children say they love you or hugs you, reciprocate. It will provide comfort immediately and even diffuse a tense situation especially if your kid is feeling upset or frustrated.
2. Be kind — even when saying ‘no.’
Are you scared that your child won’t like you if you don’t give in to their demands? Don’t be. “Your little one needs you to be effortless in charge,” says Janet Lansbury, an early childhood expert, author, and host of the podcast Respectful Parenting.
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Find your calm and loving but firm tone, Lansbury suggests. It should be confident and commanding, not unsure or angry. Remember to use kind words — this also shows them not everything that they demand will be given, and that they cannot take your love for granted.
3. Respect your kids.
Sometimes you cannot help but worry that your child is growing up as a spoiled brat or a bully. Lansbury shares that kids may sense this from you, so avoid using labels, even if you’re feeling angry or frustrated.
Negative words have an impact and they will see themselves as ‘not good enough.’ It will also diminish the respect that your children have for you. As they say, “respect breeds respect.” If you expect your children to respect you, you need to be respectful toward them first.
4. Exercise patience and self-control.
Do you ever feel like a mean mom? No matter how much you try to keep your cool, the inevitable happens and you still lose your temper and raise your voice. Naturally, you feel guilty afterward.
There are valid reasons for these outbursts (click here to know the possible reasons). Get to know yourself better and find ways to remain calm and deal with your emotions.
5. Love yourself.
A happy mom means a happy family. The most important step to becoming a better mom: taking care of yourself.
Loving yourself means valuing yourself — find time to relax, cultivate your talents, and do the things you like doing. This way, you’ll also have more energy, more love, and more happiness to pass on to your kids. Don’t ever feel guilty about self-care, mom. You deserve it!
So you're feeling frustrated because your child is testing your limits. Click here to learn how to handle a defiant toddler.