Before you know it, parenting can turn into a Tom & Jerry scenario

Before you know it, parenting can turn into a Tom & Jerry scenario 150 150 Jane Evans

Habits take time to develop

When we first hold our child we can feel a bit awkward. We have to learn what they like, don’t like, need, don’t need and how we ‘fit’ together. It takes time but eventually some of it becomes ‘automatic’. Changing a nappy, wiping sticky fingers, rocking them, bathing them….

Over time we respond in a similar way to a:

need – physical/emotional/safety
cry for help
playful interaction
not hearing us
not doing as requested……

We develop habitual responses which stress, tiredness and frustration may impact but generally we have a repetitive cycle we fall in to, a bit like the cartoon characters, Tom and Jerry. See-react-act-repeat!

When it comes to behaviour and all of the pressures and expectations on us and, our children, to behave well and perform to the max, its not surprising that this Tom and Jerry ‘act-react’ can become a habit.  Added to that, certain behaviours and responses from a child can be like dropping a match on to gasoline! An immediate conflagration followed by….boom! Not what we had planned for as parents who love their children to the moon and back.

Is it possible NOT to get pulled in to Tom and Jerry scenarios and habits?

The good news is…..absolutely!

The less good news is….it will require effort and attention from you.

The reality is….you already dispense huge amounts of time and energy playing out the Tom and Jerry behaviours over and over again.

Then you can add in extra time for beating yourself up about it later on!!

What needs to happen?

Practice,  practice, practice! Especially when you are NOT around your child!When we are trying to break habits we have to keep doing the ‘new thing’ for at least 30 days before we can expect a return on it.

That said, a parent I worked with told me, “as soon as” she took a different energy and approach towards her 3 children, she saw a change. She then had to continue to access support to keep it all going, especially at times of wobbles but it transformed the tit-for-tat, skirmishes she used to get into which always escalated to full on fights with her eldest child.

Start small to give yourself a chance to change

Focus first on catching yourself. So long as your child/children are safe…..PAUSE…..BREATH-3 deep belly breaths….SMILE at the World in general-then address your children.

Practice this for 30 days for all situations as that’s the optimum time to create a new habit.

Let me know on Twitter @janeparenting2 and FaceBook how it goes and what you notice. Hopefully there will be a decline in Tom and Jerry skirmishes and more awareness of the overall situation for your child and your relationship with them.

A great TED Talk on habits is by Matt Cutts – Try something new for 30 days

Jane provides One to One and Couples Parenting Coaching for those committed to working to have the relationship they dreamed of with, and for, their children.


Jane Evans

Jane is a ‘learn the hard way’ person. She has learnt from her personal experiences and her direct work with people who have often been in really bad places emotionally, relationally, practically and sometimes professionally.

All stories by: Jane Evans

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