How to not get schooled by your own kid.

{LOUD NOISES FOLLOWED BY RAISED ARGUING VOICES.}

Me: If you two can’t get along, then you can go to your own rooms and play by yourselves.

{10 MINUTES OF SILENCE, THEN LOUD NOICES FOLLOWED BY LOUD VOICES}

Me: I SAID keep it DOWN. Are you ready to be separated?!

Maizie: Mom, we were just playing and getting along like you said that time! What do you want us to do?? We’re kids!

 

Well, damn. Once again, I’m schooled by a 7 year old. I’m pretty sure this shouldn’t happen as often as it does. Am I the only one who constantly fails at the very things that are at the core of their parenting beliefs? Like, I’m very much against forcing children to eat. Clean plates are all fine and good, but they aren’t necessary, but at least once a week I hear myself tell one of them that they need to finish their supper. I’m not saying let them eat ice cream all day and to hell with the veggies, but making them eat when they aren’t hungry isn’t teaching them anything good. Yet, I do it anyway. Is it just engrained in me that deeply? Am I not “in the moment” enough to even be aware of what I’m saying?

And back to the conversation that I started with, I hate seeing parents scold their children for merely behaving how children should. Like Maizie said, they’re kids. Let them be kids. There will be plenty of time for acting like adults in a few years, so for now, while they’re here at home and not bothering anyone, let them be kids.

It’s so easy to get frustrated as a parent. It’s so easy to get caught up with my adult stuff (cleaning, getting bills paid, school work) and speak harshly to them before I take inventory of what’s actually going on around me. That behavior should have been immediately praised. (For the record, after I admitted that I was wrong, I did praise their behavior, but that should have been my first instinct.) Anyway, enough with the mom guilt (which I also hate, but there I go again), let’s talk about how to do better. I made myself a little list of a few things to help me stay in the moment with them and even a couple things to fix it when I forget. It’s been helping me so maybe it will help you too:

  1. Pause. Even just a few seconds to grab my thoughts before reacting is enough to pull my thoughts back in and think about what’s happening.
  2. Ask myself, is this really a problem? Like, is this really an issue that I need to correct? Is someone getting hurt? Is someone being mean? Or am I just pissed about forgetting to take the garbage out and looking for a place to put my anger?
  3. Be the example. When I yell at my children to get them to stop yelling, I feel like the most ridiculous human being on the planet. Be an example. Always. If I want them to be more calm, then I have to be calm. If I want them to eat more vegetables, then I need to eat more vegetables. So on and so forth.
  4. Find a middle ground. They just can’t contain their excitement and my nerves are way passed shot? That’s what backyards are for. Send them outside to run it off. Or better yet, throw them in the car and go to the park so we can all blow off some steam. Even though I think I’m super busy and important, the truth is that I’m really never so busy that I can’t spend an hour at the park.
  5. Apologize when I act like an ass. Ok, I slipped up… Again. Unfortunately I am not perfect and that’s cool, but it’s so important to apologize. It shows them that I respect them and their feeling. Plus, again, I have to be the example.

It’s not mind-blowing stuff here, but it has helped me and hopefully it can help someone else. It’s hard. Parenting is hard. We’ll all mess up again and again, but that’s ok as you can acknowledge that and do better. Also, shout-out to Maizie for not being afraid to call anyone out on their bullshit, even me.

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