First I would like to thank Rebecca at Positive Parenting, and Janet Lansbury at Elevating Childcare, for all the advice, inspiration, and widsom; whether it be blog posts, facebook updates, or a judgement free forum to ask questions and get help – both ladies have been a huge inspiration in my goal toward being a better parent for my children.
Parenting Yell Free
As I mentioned in my goals for the future post, I have made it one of my priorities to work on being a yell-free parent. Week one in my journey to being yell free did not started off with great success. I know that all change takes time, but I was hoping that I could make it at least one week and that didn’t happen.
I am in the process of identifying my triggers to help me figure out ways to regulate my behavior. If I cannot control my anger, how will I expect my children to do the same?I know one of my main triggers is lack of sleep (I am really really emotional and crabby if I don’t get enough sleep), but I’m trying to not let that be an excuse.
With that being said, I have been following along with some of the daily tips and suggestions from the folks at Positive Parenting on how to work toward being yell free. One of the tips recently was ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps. Whether it means naps during the day or a decent bedtime at night, adequate sleep makes it far easier to keep your cool.’
After pondering this for a bit, and knowing that lack of sleep is one of my triggers, I still cannot get myself to completely grasp this concept wholeheardetly. I will admit that I want nothing more than to sleep when the baby sleeps (and luckily my baby is a good sleeper so she is napping a lot), however, that leaves a household full of chores that still need to be done, and on certain days one or both of the older kids will be home from school and need tending to. I’ve tried to take naps and just let them play — the house ends up a disaster, or they just nag me every five minutes about needing this or that so I still don’t get any sleep, and have now wasted a good half hour or more trying to nap and not succeeding.
So… one of my biggest problems with napping is that I feel guilty doing it (if the household stuff doesn’t get done), or I end up feeling worse because I snap at my kids for not letting me nap, which kind of defeats the purpose in the first place.
Anyway, after a rough week one I have actually gotten a little better at realizing when I’m getting frustrated and when I’m feeling like I’m going to yell. For the most part I’ve been able to calm myself down by either saying silently “don’t yell, don’t yell” over and over, or by trying to remove myself temporarily until I can go back in a calmer state of mind.
I’ve even explained to my children that “mommy is feeling upset right now and I need some time to calm down.” I chose these words versus telling my kids that “they are making me angry” as I don’t want to shift the blame for my own behavior onto them. The fact that I am upset and that I don’t have a handle on my emotions is not their fault so I don’t want to project that onto my kids.
Both of my older kids can have some epic tantrums, and this is when my patience can be truly tested. In my research and my observations of my own children I’ve realized that trantrums are not bad behavior. Tantrums are my children telling me they have emotions and in that moment those emotions are just too much to bear. They don’t need punishment for this, they need warm, safe, loving arms to unload in.
Think about it. Are you ever grumpy, have a bad day, or speak with a disrespectful tone when you are in a bad mood? Well kids do it too, yet we seem to hold our kids to some higher standard of living than we can even attain ourselves. Of course they will have bad days, they are human too and we all do it! We just need to teach them how handle their moods appropriately instead of projecting them onto others. The best way to do that is to model that same behavior. If you get upset and shout out in anger every time you are frustrated, don’t you think your kids will do the same?
Also, don’t be rude to your kids. They pick up on that behavior and will do what you do. I’ve seen it in my own daughter. I know that at times I have spoken rudely to my husband and now she does the same. I know that in order to get her to behave in a better way, I need to do it first.
And give your children a little grace. Sometimes we all just need a hug instead of a dirty scornful look.
So instead of getting mad when my children have a tantrum, I try to give them a little empathy and find a way to talk about their feelings and what might be bothering them at the moment. If they are completely inconsolable at that moment I just let them know I am there for them when they are ready.
Just today my daughter got very upset that I wouldn’t let her take a shower before me. I had to get ready for work and explained that I needed to take a shower first. She threw herself on the floor and began throwing a tantrum. I explained to her that I understood she was upset but I would be taking a shower first. She didn’t calm down so I let her know she was welcome to express her feelings but I would be taking a shower. After a few minutes I offered to let her use my facial cleanser (an electric scrubber) as I knew she liked to do things just like mommy. She immediately calmed down and was excited at this prospect. She then patiently waited until I was finished and happily got into the shower after me. Problem solved. I didn’t have to ‘give in’ to her just to calm the tantrum, and in the end we were both happy.
In that moment I showed my daughter patience, grace, empathy, and also let her know that I understood she has feelings but my rules are firm.
So tell us…
Have you shown your children grace lately?