Actually, it’s only funny for the people who don’t live here; for us, Cora’s temper can be difficult, frustrating, and just plain exhausting.
Sure, my husband and I continue to notice positive behavior, we use the special plate, and we offer choices when we can–for all of our children. Goodness knows we try as hard as possible to look at all of our children with positive intent-lenses, and we always attempt to give ’em a ‘go‘.
But we cave–we give in—when we’re tired and worn down. We add fuel to the fire by handing that little temper-throwing kiddo the lollipop when she didn’t deserve one. I’ll come clean and admit that I’ve strongly suggested to Maddy and Owen that they consider “just giving her that book she’s crying about” when really Cora should wait her turn.
I even might have pretended I didn’t see our youngest little cutie pie grabbing the extra M & M because I knew, deep down inside, that making a big deal about it was not worth the throw-down tantrum that would ensue because I tried to capitalize on a “teachable moment”.
However, I’m ready to start the New Year with a new focus. We are working on patience over here, so this Quick Trick is about just that–the two ways that we are trying to play with patience: for both parents and children.
- Patience, Patience, Parents: I’m talking about what Dr. Becky Bailey mentions in the whole first half of Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline—exerting self-control, demonstrating composure, and “living the values you want your child to develop”.
Easier said than done, I know–I know–but I need a reminder after these nutty holidays, so I’m simply trying to breathe deeply before I do anything: respond to an email, a phone call, my husband, or my children. That’s it–taking a deep breath before moving too quickly.
It’s amazing how helpful one deep breath can be to clear your head, lighten the load, and just allow you a tiny bit of time to think.
Wish me luck.
- Patience, Patience, Children: Seriously, my kids need to learn to be patient. Every child does. And it is a hard, hard lesson to learn, especially when (gulp!) occasionally mom and dad lose their tempers.
But our kiddos need to know that their mom or dad isn’t required to jump up at the sound of “I need more juice!” or “I’m hungry!” or “Please help me open this box!” or even, “I want to be with Mommy!”
Sure, good manners are a must, but even with using proper manners, children should learn to wait patiently until help arrives–and I’m talking about waiting without repeating their request, without yelling, or without crying.
So our second patience-focus is with our kids. We are trying to add in a little wait time when we are asked to fulfill requests, give answers, respond to inquiries.
Today, at dinner, when Cora said, I need more milk, I said, Okay, I heard you, Cora, but let me hear you say that in the most polite way you know.
She said, More milk, please.
I said, Yes, ‘may I have more milk, please?’ is a more polite way of asking–it just sounds so much nicer to my ears. Thanks. I’ll get you more milk when I’m finished with a few more bites. I am am very hungry, and I just sat down. I’ll get it for you in a minute.
She groaned, but she waited. And when I filled up her little cup a minute later, I said, You were very patient while you waited for your milk. I appreciate it.
We are tired of children incessantly interrupting our conversations, so when Maddy, Owen, or Cora need something while my husband and I are talking, rather than run up and start talking over us, we ask them to put their hand on our arm as a signal to let us know they need us.
This tends to work more for Maddy and Owen than Cora at this point, but I’m happy with baby steps. . .
Welcome, 2010–you’re our year of patience. Deep breath, deep breath.
Wish us luck.