As part of our weeklong series, “What Experts Wish You Knew,” we’re talking about things we wish we had known long ago. And we chat with experts in different fields about things they wish their clients knew long ago.

Part 5 is all about parenting. We talked with clinical psychologist Dr. Darci Walker, of Core Parenting, about the most common parenting mistakes she sees, and what people can do differently.

“The reality is, parenting is exhausting and kids have a never ending supply of needs. And they will kind of suck us dry,” she said. “We run out of resources and then we are not good parents.”

1. Make time for self care

Her first tip — make enough time to take care of yourself.

Dr. Walker says even 15 minutes of alone time each day will help you recharge and, in the end, become a better parent.

2. Humor is a great parenting strategy

Tip two: Use humor as a way to make conflict seem less intense. This doesn’t mean making fun of your child, but using laughter to lighten the mood.

She said when her son began rolling his eyes at her she started to feel upset, but humor pulled her out of it.

“One day I said, ‘Hold on, I don’t know if you know this, but I was actually the best eye roller that ever lived. I was kind of an expert on it. So if you’re going to eye roll, you’re going to have to do it right. So i’m going to teach you how to do a good eye roll,'” Darci explained. “We all sat around and did the huff, rolled our eyes and came up with a scale on how to judge eye rolling.

3. Intentional ignoring

Her last tip is something she calls “intentional ignoring,” or at least not responding to everything your child does wrong. Let stuff go and pick your battles.

“A large percentage of the things we need to interact with, we need to let go. We need to let go of the messy bed, let the LEGOs go for a day. We need to pick and choose our battles so we can have the resources to actually follow through when there is a boundary we want to follow through with.”

Darci stressed that this doesn’t mean ignoring serious behavioral issues.

But in most cases, kids will self-correct over time if you’re consistent with this strategy.

And here are the other “What Experts Wish You Knew” topics we covered this week: 

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