On Saturday, I was sitting on the back patio when my wife came outside. My 5-year-old trailed behind her.
"Sup?" I asked. She had a goofy grin on her face.
"Guess who has something to tell you?" She squealed, looking at our 5-year-old.
Our 5-year-old was looking at me sheepishly, smiling.
Well, not really smiling. He was wiggling his tooth...
"YOU'VE GOT A LOOSE TOOTH!" I was so excited! I couldn't believe it. His immediate response was to run away and hide.
Confused, I went after him. As I did, I could hear my 3-year-old calling, "Dada?"
I ignored him.
After a very confusing next few minutes, my 5-year-old ran into the house. I was even more confused. As I went after him, my 3-year-old again called me, "Dada!"
I ignored him again.
"Dada!" My 3-year-old called, again.
I took a deep breath. "Hey, I'm trying to talk to your brother. Can you give me a minute?" I said in my I'm-trying-to-stay-calm-but-I'm-not-really-calm-so-I'm-going-to-pretend-to-be-calm voice.
"But I also have a loose tooth," the 3-year-old said.
He's 3. He doesn't have a loose tooth.
The hard thing about having kids isn't just having young kids.
(Even though young kids rely on you for everything every minute of the day.)
And the hardest part about having young kids isn't having multiple young kids.
(Even though working with young kids is like herding cats.(
And the hardest part about having young kids isn't just that they are completely irrational.
(Even though their emotions are completely irrational at times.)
And the hardest part of having young kids isn't how kids trigger your own issues.
(Although nothing will make you feel more inadequate than seeing yourself make the same mistakes with your kids that your parents made with you.)
No, the hardest part of having young kids is trying to parent a young kid while you're being triggered, while your kid is being irrational, while also having multiple other young kids who want your attention.
The hardest part of having young kids is that all of these things are happening at the same time.
I think there are tons of skills you need to be a good parent and tons of tools you can use. But first, before we get to any of that, let's not neglect our own struggle.
It's hard having young kids. Let's validate that for yourself. Give yourself grace. Parenting young kids feels hard because it is hard.
It's okay that you feel it's hard. Because it is.
Okay so now that we've validated and attended to our own struggle, let's talk tools.
I recently stumbled upon this podcast about parenting angry kids. It's brilliantly done and offers a simple framework on why kids get angry, a clear definition of healthy versus unhealthy anger, and some thoughts on what we can do about it.
Let me know what you think!
And of course, if you or a friend would like to come to counseling to talk about parenting please reach out.
Dr. Jordan Harris.
Dr. Jordan Harris is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists who works in the Northwest Arkansas area, servicing Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville. With over 10 years of experience, he's worked in various fields from addictions, to kids, to psychiatric wards. Currently his specialty is working with couples with young children.