How to Regroup When You’ve Totally Lost It with your Kids (Or How to Start Your Day Over)
Welcome back, you marathoners! We are in the sprint toward the finish line! Congrats (and thanks) for having hung in with me this far: You are awesome!
Okay, parents, or anyone who works with kids on a regular basis. We’ve all lost our cool and said or done something regrettable, yes? Raise your hand if this applies. Come on, no one will know but you and your screen—and remember that confession is good for the soul!)
I’m sure I’ve lost my cool and composure in numbers approaching the triple digits. Comes with parenting territory, a place I’ve lived for about twenty years now. (My stepsons were eight, four and six when I met my honey, and they were regulars at my house for the first five or six years we were married. They then moved with their mom and her husband, but by then I had two full-time kids of my own.)
This incident took place with my full-timers, on a day off from school for all of us when they were grammar-school age. I wanted to take them out to breakfast. All I’d asked is that they make their beds (i.e., pull one measly comforter neatly in place onto their beds) and get dressed.
Well, boys will be boys (clichés are clichés for a reason, folks) and mine did…nothing…related to what I asked. After my fifth (?) or so time of repeating the direction, I lost my temper. Big. Time. Said things I’m fortunate memory loss has washed away (can I blame hormones?) but wouldn’t dare repeat if I did remember them. (In other words, when I couldn’t control the situation I got MAD.)
Rather than beat them senseless, I left their room and went downstairs. Most likely, I cried and wondered how in the world I’d undo my behavior (in essence, a tantrum—yep, grownups have them too). Luckily, I remembered an invaluable quote: Whenever I choose, I can ‘start my day over any time.’
As I stated in my previous post, don’t ask me where I get this stuff. For inexplicable reasons, I got three erasers out of the pencil drawer. I went upstairs and handed each of the guys one of them. I then told them that Mommy had behaved badly and that a lot of ‘bad behavior’ had taken place in their room and that we were going to erase all the bad behavior away.
Well, we did just that–air erased all that ‘bad behavior’ away. I’ll be darned, that insane little idea changed the mood for the day. The boys got their acts together—as did I—and we had a great breakfast and a good day.
Have you lost it as a parent? If so, what did you do to ‘turn it around,’ as my hubby likes to say? What were the results?
Thanks so much, folks, for indulging me during this mini-series. Amazing how three simple words (the original nugget for one post, Discipline or Control) took on dimensions all its own. Please note too, that children with severe behavior problems might have underlying issues going on. Talking with professionals who deal with kids on a regular basis can be very helpful. If you’re struggling, get in touch with a teacher, pediatrician, psychologist, related service provider (i.e., physical, occupational or speech therapist) or behaviorist. Read parent forums and use information there as a springboard to give you an idea of what your child’s need might be. Remember that none of that information is gospel and should be used only as a guideline for further action that might be necessary.
Finally, look at your own motives and your own behavior. IMHO, it’s not about what I want. It’s about guiding my kids to be the best adults they can be by providing them an opportunity to learn via discipline.
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Have a great day,