One thing that is really hard about parenting after loss is just that....being a parent. Being a parent isn't easy. There is times you have to be firm with your child, when you have to be a good role model and when you have to set boundaries.
Good sleep schedules are crucial for kids. So many behavior problems with kids are linked to children who simply do not get enough sleep. Even teenagers need 12 hours a night. So many kids don't get this adequate sleep. It is hard for me when I put Cole to bed and he is crying, trying to get me in there. It is manipulation. He will cry for a cup of water. So we bring him one and then he cries for the cup of water to leave his room. This can go on for hours if we let it. He wants the music on...gets it...and then screams for it to be off. As a behaviorist I am hip to his game....but it is HARD to let him cry at night.
There are times I worry that I will regret not going in there and stop him from crying. I know he would stop if I go sit on the chair in his room until he falls asleep....but he needs to learn how to do this stuff on his own. It is going to make him independent. It is going to make my life easier...but "what ifs" haunt. What if, someday, I lose him? How horrible will it be that I chose to let him cry? How badly with I kick myself?
When I have to be firm with Claudia. When she overreacts to something and I put her in a time out. When I have to follow through and make sure she is behaving appropriate and not eating for jelly beans for dinner.
I have to be their parent, that is all I wanted....but honestly, I think it would have been easier to parent Curtis because I wouldn't have worried about regretting what I have to do.... I don't find parenting challenging except this...I don't want to make their lives easy and let them get away with everything. I want them happy and healthy and that means I have to set boundaries and teach them. But there is a part of me who remembers what it felt like in 2006 who would be screaming at me for NOT sitting in the recliner in the middle of the night next to Cole's crib when he cries out for me.
(*edit: due to some super rude comments, Cole is not crying for hours on end. He is crying for a few minutes each night until he realizes it is truly bed time. He then happily sleeps all night long for 12 hours. My daughter? She happily goes into her room each night, plays quietly until she falls alseep. My children are happy, healthy and well behaved. Structure and routine are great for kids. TI am a behaviorist, it is easy to see a child without these things become a compelte mess. I do not appreciate, nor will I tolerate, comments on me causing my son brain damage because I don't cave into his every whim and every tantrum.)