Parenting is rough. Period!
I have yet to find someone who disagrees with this statement. Even those with "angel" children find themselves on their knees begging God for wisdom and strength.
Several years ago while listening to Focus on the Family, I heard six tips that I thought were too good not to pass along. These tips are taken from Your Child DVD Parenting Seminar with Dr. James Dobson (Essentials of Discipline)
Tip #1 - Define the boundaries very clearly in advance.
Several years ago during a Christmas family gathering, I was able to glean from my cousin some wisdom for parenting children who have Sensory Processing Disorder. I explained to her that Bubs kicks the walls, throws things, and screams. This behavior is not acceptable in our home but I did not know what to do about it since it occurs while he is in the middle of a meltdown. She explained to me that he has extreme emotions which he needs to get out. I had to help him learn acceptable ways to let the emotions out. We had to set boundaries for him before he entered a meltdown.
During a calm moment, Bubs and I discussed appropriate ways he could release his emotions. Together we agreed that if he needs to scream, he is welcome to in his pillow. If he needs to kick or throw something, his stuffed animals are acceptable alternatives to doors and walls. This discussion helped both of us as we discussed in advance what was acceptable and what was not. Boundaries were drawn so that there was no more gray area.
Here's another scenario.
Before entering the grocery store, I set expectations for our children. I explain that we will only be purchasing items that are on my list. (Although mom can change this rule if something is forgotten.) Thus, there is no reason to ask to purchase any additional item. We discuss respectful behavior toward other shoppers. This means that we do not run, talk loudly, and touch things. To involve the children in the shopping process, I give each of them a product to look for. Grocery store visits contain no bribing or begging. The boundaries in advance lay out what they can/cannot touch, say, and do.
Coming Soon: Tip #2
You may also like to read:
Not Done To a Child for For a Child
Holes in My Discipline
Every Child Poses Unique Challenges