As I sit at karate with all the other parents and children watching my 5 yr old do her thing, a frazzled mother with her three kids comes in and sits in front of me. Stressed to the bone! I see myself when my son was little. Carrying a toddler with two other kids close behind she sits and immediately the drill sergeant comes out. My son, Levi (10) is next to me quietly bored stiff knowing he has to watch his sister for 45 minutes until his turn is up. He keeps looking at this mom and then me but says nothing. She is yelling at her boys for moving, not sitting in “this exact spot”, trying to control their every move. Nothing is working for her and its making her even more stressed. The entire place fills with her tension. Then her boy falls off the bleachers, BANG! When another mom goes to console him his mother goes on the attack! “He doesn’t need help. It was his own fault. You wouldn’t believe what this kid has done to me today!” Etc, Etc! It was quite the sight!
But I remember being in this mothers position like it was yesterday!
Trying to control my sons every move. Threatening to take the things away he loves most just to get him to please listen. Constantly being everywhere he was and when asked how my day was or what was going on couldn’t help unloading because it felt good to get things off my chest.
I am so glad I have learned to change and help my kids to change too. It definitely didn’t happen over night.
I have a few tips that have helped me that continue to help me with my kids. Everyone is different and I’m always thinking and trying new things with them as our lives are always changing. Being a drill sergeant might work for some people but at the end of the day how happy is everyone?
I have learned to be a constant positive. Kids will do as they see and say what they hear. If you are barking orders at them or taking things away from them constantly those are the first things that will come out of their mouth in an argument with you or with friends. “You take things away from me so why should I listen?, You don’t care about me so why should I listen?, If you take that away from me I’ll take your (insert item) away from you.” If someone was barking orders at me I probably wouldn’t jump up to do it. But if asked nicely I would probably be much more likely to just do it. Everyone wants their kids to say please and thank you but do they ask their kids to do things with a please and thank you? Same with adults? When I started to ask my kids to do things nicely with a please and thank you I was very surprised to see the results. They would do it, do it nicely, in a quick and orderly fashion and just like I asked with a “you’re welcome mom” at the end of it. That never happened when I was barking at them.
I have a chalk board in my entry way that I write positive sayings/affirmations on. It’s a big help with my 10 yr old.
Talking, Not Yelling. This is a big one that was hard for everyone in my house to learn and still my son struggles with it. You would think that when your kid continues to yell at you, you would yell back but I have learned to stay calm and continue to talk or just stop talking and walk away. Hopefully he will learn soon. Yelling is a big confrontation starter that keeps that confrontation going somewhere and soon no one knows why it even started. They are too busy yelling. Someone needs to stop it by walking away. No lecture or reprimand, just walking away.
You can not control everything.
A big help for me was reading Parenting With Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. I recommend this book even if you aren’t having trouble with your kids. It will help you with your spouse, how to better to talk to people, handle stressful situations like the mom at karate but even when you don’t have your kids with you and most importantly it does help with you kids whether or not they need it. Just a very good informative read.
Needless to say my day yesterday was a big reminder of far ive come with my family from where I used to be.
I am very proud and thankful for my family!