Because I care about all of you, I am going to put myself out there and share a not-so-fantastic parenting moment. This morning, after a night of tossing and turning, I woke up to my youngest throwing tantrum after tantrum, walking around like a little chubby bomb waiting to explode at any moment. “You’re being SUCH a baby” I heard myself say. Here it is… wait for it… he’s 15 months old people. So there you have it. I called my baby a baby. I’ll remove myself from the “Mother of the Year” contestant list.
But let me defend myself for a moment. He is adorable. But I see his wheels turning. I see that inner monologue going and I’m convinced that the inner monologue sounds something like that the guy that does the voiceovers for horror movie trailers. Sometimes I think he sits, big brown eyes looking all innocent and thinks to himself, “I’m so glad we are going grocery shopping. This is finally my moment. I will wait patiently until we get to the checkout line and then, when the cart is full and just enough people are around, I will break into hysterics for no good reason and make everyone there think she is completely incapable as a mother.” This is the kid with the 10 octave squeal. This is the kid who has made me THAT person, the one everyone looks at in restaurants. I have 2 other kids whose behavior is near perfect so this one has thrown me for a loop.
Thank GOODNESS for my super strong inner peace force field! And for time spent in silence. It was in such a time that the BEST parenting method came to me, and it’s a method I have used with all of my kids and more and more often, my spouse as well. Here it is:
BEST- Breathe, Empathize, Solve, Toss
When your kids push your buttons, talk back, spill something, break something, act out in public, scream on airplanes or whatever, try handling it the BEST way possible.
Breathe. When you take a sec to breathe, you stop yourself from REACTING. And from OVER-reacting. When we take one breath, it’s just long enough to diffuse the frustration and to keep us from acting like someone we wouldn’t even want to share cab with.
Empathize. SO often we react and over react because we are expecting our children to behave in a way that they are not emotionally capable of. Even our teenagers lack the same level of adult control that most of us have. Is your child tired? Feeling persecuted? Feeling that you don’t trust them? Most of the time our kids are not trying to drive us insane. Take poor behavior as a message. What message are they trying to send that they aren’t ready to verbalize? Think about it. And manage your expectations. If you take your kids to the grocery store when they are sick and exhausted, guess what? It’s kinda your fault.
Solve. Solve the problem. And if they are old enough, get them involved in the solution so that they begin to think about problem solving for themselves. Ask them,”Any ideas on how we can fix this?” If they are tiny and it means cutting your shopping trip short? Do it. The best solutions are the ones that get them thinking or the ones that diffuse the anxiety for you and for them.
Toss. Toss it out. Get rid of it. The second you solve it, stop thinking about it. Give them a hug. Get on with your day. My husband has a tendency to stay mad for three hours over a broken remote. It’s broken. Breathe. Empathize. Did you put the remote where the 15 month old could get to it? Solve. Fix it or buy a new one. And Toss. RIP remote. We had some good times. And now it’s over.
Onward and upward, just a little step closer to sanity. =)