If parenting is so hard, why do we keep doing it?

The answer… because we’re addicted to it.

Here’s a great article from Slate with the premise that humans get such a physiological jolt of pleasure from the occasional hug, kiss or snuggle that it makes up for all the blood, sweat and tears that comes from raising children.

To put it another way – if it was so hard – we’d all be one children families. Here’s a passage from the piece:

“Parenting is a grind, and most parents are stressed out much more than they are happy. But when parents think about parenting, they don’t remember the background stress. They remember the cuddle and the kiss. Parenting is a series of intensely high highs, followed by long periods of frustration and stress, during which you go to great lengths to find your way back to that sofa and that kiss.

We have a name for people who pursue rare moments of bliss at the expense of their wallets and their social and professional relationships: addicts.

Children regularly give parents the kind of highs that only narcotics can rival. The unpredictability of those moments of bliss is an important factor in their addictiveness.”

Intrigued? Read on:

Calm Cool and Collected… Parenting

Heard a fantastic NPR segment this morning about how parents can best manage the drama and craziness of their teenage sons and daughters. The premise of the piece was based on a new book called Getting to Calm: Cool-Headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens + Teens – and from the four or so minutes I caught in the car – it’s an extremely helpful guide for navigating what are for some parents very tumultuous waters and uncovers the drivers for many infuriating aspects of teen’s behaviors. Apparently it’s not just about bad attitudes, being spoiled or disrespectful or carelessness or other commonly thought of drivers but simply an under-developed prefontal cortex.

Here are a few examples of the situations the book address and provides approaches for parents on how to handle:

  • When your teen is rude and sarcastic
  • When your smart teen does something really dumb
  • When teen problems drive a wedge between you and your spouse
  • When your teen is acting like a spoiled brat
  • When you’re worried you’re losing your teen
  • When teens are mean

The book, written by psychologist Laura Kastner and Jennifer Wyatt, is based on years of research so it’s not based on subjective opinions or lifestyle choices. What’s really helpful is that the book actually provides a blueprint on how to handle specific situations. So clearly one that you want to keep on your nightstand for several years.

How to Fight… Calmly?

Sticks and stones may break bones and words can never hurt – but they can alter body chemistry. Really? Here’s an interesting article from double X on how to have a fight with your spouse or partner in a more healthy way. Apparently, bio-behavioral researchers at Penn State University have found that specific words, when uttered in a heated discussion or argument, can alter body chemistry. Click here to see the article: LINK

So, if during an argument, couples use analytical words such as “reason”, “think”, “understanding” and “because” , it actually can calm things down… for men.  Funny – the same words don’t have the same effect on women. But what does make an impact is having the female’s partner present, listening and participating in the exchange. The word themselves are less relevant but simply being present and actively engaged helps.

Share this with your partner and next time you can see the train wreck coming down the tracks, get present fast and talk like Pointdexter. Perhaps you’ll only go from a slugfest to a couple of rounds of sparring. 

Make it Happen by Making it Fun

If you ever needed a reminder of how to get little junior or the tiny princess to do something you want them to do (especially something that’s good for them) without any prodding or cajoling – just take a look at this:

It’s also refreshing to see adults break their daily patterns and routine behaviors to try something different and fun.

Keep an eye out for the elderly man (at around 1:23) who can barely walk – yet chooses the stairs  – why? – cuz it looks like fun!

Temptation by Marshmallow

An almost painful but hilarious experiment of kids managing their impulses. I’d be interested to see how adults fare. I wouldn’t be surprised if grown-ups acted more impulsively then the kids. It’s a fun watch. I came across this at a great kid-related, design-based blog called Wee Saw.