Ï don’t like it. You haven’t tasted it. I don’t want to!
That’s my chair. I was sitting there. I need to use it. NOW. Fine! I won’t use it then ever again.
Can you take that photo of me now. No because you didn’t let me have a banana smoothie. That’s really rude. I’m not going to get you those rolls at the shops – so no hamburgers for dinner! (smirk).
The italics are my part of the conversation. Not all of these conversations happened between me and my children. Some of them were with my husband. These are not conversations from years ago before I understood things like awareness and love and truth. These are not conversations from before I meditated or did yoga.
These conversations happened yesterday.
So the question is – am I alone out here in my childish behaviour and will I ever grow up?
Parenthood and Marriage can be a minefield and you do find yourself regressing to lesser behaviour as you reach for something, anything to help you out in the situation.
My nos don’t mean no. Well they do at first but I am ground down by my second child’s vigilance in getting what he wants. Mostly food wise.
Bribery is rife amongst out family. My children regularly ask what they will get if they finish all their dinner. Even if that food is burger and chips. We don’t really do dessert but they’ll negotiate apples, grapes and sometimes a sliver of my raw chocolate.
We threaten to take things away from them, sometimes things that we really need that we’d never cancel in a million years, like sleepovers at their grandparents. Then don’t follow through.
I use the silent treatment, albeit more often with my husband than the kids – kids don’t do silence well.
I threaten to smack.
When we are flailing for a semblance of control, or trying to keep them in line (because some part of us thinks that if we don’t they will end up in jail) we can play down right dirty.
So these behaviours, besides maybe a percentage of them that are inbuilt in children and instinctual, are actual a mirror of our behaviour.
Once again the responsibility lands squarely in our court and we have the ball.
Now that I have this awareness (and you do to if you are reading and identify) – what the hell do we do?
I know for sure I have a long way to go in this area but you begin the journey one step at a time:
Take responsibility – reflect on the situation that you weren’t happy with. Can you take any responsibility from it? Taking responsibility for at least some of it can allow you to see things more clearly and more “real” than when you believe you are wholly right.
Say your sorry (yes even to your children) – this teaches them how to behave and recognize that they are responsible for their own behaviour and not always right or “wronged”.
Stop trying to be right – everyone is working on a different reality. They are brought up differently, have different experiences, maybe they are a different sex. Make yourself heard, get your views across calmly, then move on with the situation.
Let things go. Really. Sometimes its your mood that caused the whole thing in the first place. So when those black clouds clear and you think – jeez I was stressed, touchy, defensive, whatever then say so. and try and have a normal conversation about what happened. Then let it go. Don’t rehash it with other people because it will hurt all over again and you will find yourself feeling righteous instead of happy.
Find a solution. Instead of taking control lets talk to our kids more. They are unhappy about not getting a banana smoothie from the shop or being taken away from their friends when they were playing. We can ask them to come up with a solution they are happy with by asking them, “What can we do about it?” Maybe they will come up with making a smoothie at home or getting one tomorrow or organising a playdate with a friend for a future date. Let’s teach them to compromise, negotiate and come up with a solution that makes both parties happy.
Fight Fairly. Don’t interrupt, even if you need to put your hand over your mouth to stop yourself. No name calling. Don’t make threats. Apologize when you know you should. If you’re too angry to really listen, stop! Go into another room, take space for yourself, breathe, and calm down.
Now if only I could memorize these things, internalize them and make them habits instead of crazily reacting to my moods and situations.
Maybe I’ll re-read this blog before bed every night 🙂 Baby-steps.
You can’t grow if you don’t know right?