Caught Myself Doing the Lamest Parenting “Threat”, Yet Again

tristan_cro0p

Here’s my December 17th entry in my “Giving Good Attention to Kids” Observation Journal (referenced in my Dec 15th, 2013 post).

THE SCENE

Bedtime. About the 15th time Tristan (age 2) popped out of bed.

WHAT WAS HAPPENING:

Tristan kept getting out of bed and needing something else. Part of the problem was he took a nap at 4 pm. Doh!

WHAT I DID:

I had been very patient up until now. But when he said he wanted cereal to eat, I just got really irritated. When bedtime is, in my mind, supposed to be done, and kids decide that’s time for another meal it pushes a hot button for me. A meal now? Why didn’t you eat earlier when I asked? Plus, it’s a long drawn out process that just takes the steam out of me. And now it’s 10 pm!

I’ve been really good with kids all day and really enjoyed their company. We’ve had a great day! But now, I’m tired and want to be done. And I want some “alone time.” I got sharp with Tristan. I said that if he got out of bed, the door of his room was getting shut.

I remember this if… then… from Siblings Without Rivalry (the book by co-authors Faber & Mazlish). It’s a threat. If you do this, then I’ll do this. Or if you do this, then this will happen. They talk about finding ways of engaging kids cooperation w/o doing “the threat” … but right now I can’t think of what those techniques would be.

When I get tired, or feel out of parenting gas, I find that I resort to the “if … then.”

I don’t like it.

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Earlier that same day…

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THE SCENE:

Right after we got home from school.

WHAT WAS HAPPENING:

Right away, Ian is asking me if he can use my computer.

WHAT I DID:  

I say in a kind, genuine and not irritated sounding voice, “There will be time for computer today. But right now, let’s get a snack or lunch.” He said OK. No fight.

NOTES:

 I realize that, with Ian especially, I’m often bracing myself for a big, pain-in-the-ass, temper-tantrum-type reaction. (Because I’ve been seeing a lot of these lately). But this time, I was just calm and expected it to go OK. And if it didn’t, I’d calmly handle it. I didn’t get my hackles and defenses all up. I was just… normal.

Wow. Who ever thought that being “normal” could be so effective when parenting?

OTHER THOUGHTS: Lots of good stuff with the kids today… They played in snow. I made yummy lunch with hot cocoa. I wanted to hang with them all while they ate and do Xmas trivia. Charlie Grace (age 8) didn’t want to join us for the snack together. She REALLY wanted to decompress and watch her “shows”. I let her do it. I saw that it was what she needed, even if it wasn’t what I wished for at that moment. So instead, I hung out with Tristan and Ian and Max. Then Max (age 10) went up to check on Charlie. He can be such a caring older brother. She had very cold freezing feet earlier and apparently He got her set up on you tube with her shows and brought her a blanket.

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