Friday, October 25, 2013

Getting Myself Under Control

One of the hardest lessons I've learned as a parent- Having a happy house is not about controlling what the kids do, it is about controlling what I do; my thoughts and actions.

Last night we were driving and Bug (2y) was being LOUD. Screaming everything he said, singing at the top of his lungs, etc. In the past I might have yelled back "Be quiet!" or something like that. Honestly, I still fought 
the urge to do just that, but I've been there and seen the outcome of that action. Bug would get upset and start crying, or possibly think we were having a fun game of yelling and increase the volume. So instead I said, "Bug, your voice is loud. It is hurting my head." He said, "It's not hurting your head, Mama." and I replied, "Yes it is. It's going in my ears and hurting my head." He thought for a second and then said, "I don't want to hurt your head." "Thank you. If you stop being loud my head will stop hurting." and that was that.

Later, at home, Josh (9y) and I had finished reading in the living room and I was ready for bed. Josh was not, so I asked him to please respect that Bug and I were sleeping by being quiet, and off I went. Not 10 minutes later I heard a crash come from the living room. In the past I would have stormed out and gone ape-shit. I am an angry lady when I'm tired. I've been there, done that, and it never turns out well. Josh is very sensitive, and my outbursts have set our family progress toward peace back on more than one occasion. So instead I paused at the living room door, took a deep breath, and managed to just ask, "What happened?"

"I was cleaning up the living room and dropped Bug's trains. You worked hard all day cleaning up, and now its messy again, so I wanted to pick up for you."

Cue heartbreak. I was SO thankful I didn't come out yelling at him for trying to be helpful.

Now, is this what every moment looks like in our house? No.
Did we have to go through some seriously dark times to get to this point? Yes, oh yes.

The common theme in my experiences is that when I assign negative motives to the kids in my thoughts or react to them from a place of judgment or control, the outcome is almost always negative.

When I assume the kids have the best intentions in my thoughts and react to them from a place of respect and love, these are the times we're more likely to experience the types of outcomes shared above.

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