A difficult part of parenting is knowing that everything will change.  At times, it can bring comfort hence the ever popular “this too shall pass”.  But it can also bring anxiety when in not knowing how to handle situations.

For instance, many parents don’t want to introduce pacifiers or thumbs because sometime down the road, things will change and they will then have to take them away.   Or your dentist says that you can no longer give your child a bottle right before they go to bed, but then your children will scream and will never go to bed.  Or you gave your child an iPhone when they were tiny and now it’s all they want all the time and you want to restrict the use.

Here’s the good news; anyone can adapt, any child can adapt.

What ever change you want to introduce, you can do it! Your child can adapt to anything.  

I like to picture families traveling across the states during the gold rush in a covered wagon pulled by horses.  Then I like to put a modern family inside that wagon and I here, “Honey, the kids will never be able to take a nap if the wagon is bumpy or cold”.  “We can try to serve them beans for dinner, but I don’t think they’ll eat it.”  “If we don’t warm their milk enough, they’ll never drink it!”  

No, these families and these children had to adapt.  They had to sleep wherever and however they could.  They ate whatever was offered to them.  

Even though our situations today are much more comfortable, we have to remind ourselves that we don’t have to make our situations perfect.  

Over the last month, our house was under construction and it was loud.  So loud that the walls sometimes shook.  The first 3 days were very difficult.  Both of the boys cried and wanted to be held all the time.  We left the house as much as we could but we had to be home for nap time.  So let me tell you, I didn’t think that the boys would be able to nap, but they did, they adapted.

We are in a generation where we have options.  I could have said, “let’s not do the construction”.  I could have said, “You have to stop construction for two hours every day”.  But I know that mothers haven’t always had options.  I know that children can adapt.

Be the mom on the wagon.  If your child can no longer have a bottle before bed, pretend that you are on the trail, and you left your only bottle at the last camp.  You are not going to head back 20 miles and 2 days out of the way to collect one bottle.  Your child on the wagon has to adapt to not having a bottle.  There’s no other option. 

Be the mom on the wagon.  If your child is used to getting to eat whatever they want at dinner time and you can only cook one meal, pretend you are on the trail and that’s all the food you have.  Whatever is on their plate, they can eat and if they don’t want to eat that, then that’s fine, there will be food tomorrow.

Be the mom on the wagon.  If your child is screen addicted and wants the phone, ipad, tv or computer all the time, pretend you are on the trail and the only entertainment for them is the great outdoors or a book or playing with you or by themselves.  You can just say, “not now.”  “I don’t know where it is (hidden high in a closet)” or “oops!  it’s not working right now..”  

With all of these changes, your children will fuss, they will tantrum and they will scream.  Because it is an effective way for them to get what they want.  But be the mom on the wagon; even if they are screaming, you physically can’t get the bottle, more food or a new electronic toy.  Be consistent, stick with it and your children will adapt.  They will be fine with it once they realize that it is their reality.