Whether we're taking the kids to school, or picking them up and taking them to their various extracurricular activities, you can feel that you spend half your life chained to the steering wheel. For some, it's as natural as breathing, because parents can enjoy that quiet time while waiting outside soccer practice, listening to the radio, and getting an opportunity to be alone with their thoughts, but as soon as the kids and their friends jump in, it's noisy, stinky, and stressy! And it's at this point, where your children are ignoring you so they can look cool, and the reality sets in... you are a glorified taxi service... But what can you do to ensure that everybody gets along just fine?
Setting The Boundaries
You've got to drive, and you've got to do it safely, so you shouldn't stand any distractions that can take your attention off the road. If you're giving rides to your kids’ friends, you can either sit there in silence and let them verbally bash you, or you can be an absolute disciplinarian behind the wheel. Ultimately, if you need to focus, and your kids are being incredibly distracting, you can either have a word with them before they get in the car, so you can spare their embarrassment in front of their friends, or you can give them a dressing down in front of their friends. It's your choice, but the priority is to ensure you are focused on the road. You don't want to be so distracted behind the wheel you end up causing an accident, and then a car accident attorney has to get involved, and this ends up causing a very fractious relationship between you and your children. It's each unto their own when it comes to their own kids, and you can't underestimate the potential for damage when behind the wheel.
Taking Time To Chill Out
Getting the message through to our kids can be like banging our head against a brick wall, and if it's got to the point where you are fed up of giving your children rides everywhere, without them acknowledging your presence, or being mouthy, and you're unable to cope with it, you've got to find some good practices to make sure you calm down. If being a parent is incredibly stressful, you're not alone! But the difference between you and the others who let the stress overwhelm them, and they end up continually shouting at their children, is all about being able to cope with the stresses effectively. And while it might be very difficult for you to meditate in a house full of noisy children, it's about finding the opportunity for you to calm down. We all have our own methods, but predominantly, are we just waiting for the kids to go to bed, and then we sit down in front of the television and unwind? This may be a perfect practice for you, but it's not going to help you tackle your stress triggers. Finding out how you get stressed, and noticing the signs and symptoms, but then finding the appropriate tools to deal with an isn't just an overnight fix, it's a long journey that we've all got to address. We can view stress and anxiety as being part of our parental duties, but this is where looking for some little things to keep you calm will be a lifesaver in the long run.
And if we feel that all we do is ferry our children back and forth to sports practice, choir practice, and everything else, day in and day out, maybe we just need to look to the future and take comfort in the fact that it won't be long until they leave school, or are able to drive for themselves! It can be a very difficult thing to keep a lid on when you're a stressed parent, and you don't want to shout at your children, but you still need some respect from them. And when you're sat there, in the car, waiting for them to get out of soccer practice, taking these moments to stop, breathe, and say to yourself “it's only a few more years” will take the edge off. We've all got teenagers that treat us like doormats, and the big solution is to let it wash over us. And while it's not as easy as that, we have to be careful that we don't get angry or lose our temper. Sit, take it easy and breathe; don't hit the roof!