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Essential Rules of Parenting: How to Stay Sane

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Slide 4

It's Normal to Want to Escape


Hey, let's talk taboos. Death, drugs, dirty dancing…or how about one of the biggest of all: admitting that there are times you wish your kids would just leave you alone.

Of course, it's strictly forbidden ever to admit that your little darlings can be little monsters. You can joke about it self-deprecatingly, but you can't actually let on seriously that there are times you just want to escape from them. How could you? Your job is to love them and, if you love them, it follows that you love everything about them. You're supposed to smile indulgently when you're expected to read the same tedious story every night for three months, gaze adoringly as they shriek gratingly while racing around wildly, and laugh with them as they repeat the same unfunny joke for the twenty-fifth time -- incorrectly.

Funny thing is, it's considered fine to be irritated by other people's children (not that you're supposed to say so to their face). So we all know kids can get on your nerves. Which is why it follows that your own kids can drive you mad at times. And that's okay.

In fact, they're very good at it. They start pretty much as soon as they're born. That newborn cry is meant to bore into your brain until you do something about it. And boy, does it work. From then on, they get on your nerves routinely. Sometimes it's not even their fault. Actually, the most guilt-ridden thing of all is when you know it's not their fault. But when they've kept you up for three nights in a row teething, it's hard to be sympathetic. You know you should, but actually you just want them to shut up and let you sleep. It's only a tooth, after all.

Well, I have news for you. Every parent feels the same now and again. In fact, there'll be phases when you feel that way 50 times a day, in between the phases where it's only once or twice a week. Just accept that it's natural, and any parent who won't admit to that is lying. You can't stop your child getting on your nerves, but you don't have to do the guilt stuff as well.

Next: Don't Ignore Your Relationship with Your Partner

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From The Rules of Parenting Copyright © 2008, FT Press. Used by permission of FT Press, and Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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