I Have a Treasure, Not Made of Gold

James P. Sullivan roared. Boo screamed and ran away terrified.

What do your children see when you scream at them?

Disney/Pixar's Monster's Inc.

If this is what they see, do you think they can effectively listen to you? Are they likely to learn from the situation?

There are times I tend to yell. When I’m tired, feeling rushed, when I’m doing something I don’t want to stop doing.

But if I yell, I put a barrier between me and my children. Looking at MY triggers it’s easy to see they really are mine, not my children’s.

If I’m tired, I have less patience. A little spill. Something expected for the age, becomes a big deal. I want the mess prevented in the first place, not just cleaned up. I tend to yell. I tell the girls to clean up. I yell at them because I have more mess to clean. But nothing is solved.

I could take a deep breath and say “Oh-oh, the juice spilled on the floor, can you help clean it up?” They’d probably happily help and we’d continue our day happy. Yelling ruins everyone’s day.

If I’m running late for an appointment I want the girls to hurry. I want them to put their shoes on, I want them to go potty, I want to find my lost ten minutes and end up blaming the girls. But can it be their fault? Aren’t I the one who’s supposed to get us up on time. Isn’t it my job to have everyone fed, dressed, and ready to go? If so, then why do I blame them? Why do I yell. It’s my problem not theirs.

If I kept it my problem, we’d all leave the house in a better mood. We might still be late, but we’d be happy and the rest of the day would run smoother.

What about when I’m making dinner? Food needs to be made, everyone needs to eat. It’s reasonable that I ask them to give me space. Isn’t it?

No it isn’t. Not all the time anyhow. In fact most of the time, I should stop and give them my attention. If they need company, they can help me make supper. If they need a snack, they need it NOW, not in an hour. If I stop what I’m doing long enough to get them a snack it’ll only push dinner back fifteen minutes max, so what’s the big deal?

Those are little issues, easy to solve. What about big issues? Someone gets hurt, someone needs my help telling her sister to let go, to stop taking toys. Is it fair to not only tell them I’m unavaibale, but also to yell at them?

No. When they aren’t capable of solving their problems it’s up to me. I can let them know I’m there, available to help them, love them.

How would you feel if you asked for help and the person you asked started yelling at you? Scared, sad, hurt, angry? None of those emotions help you solve your problem, none of them give you confidence. So why do we create those emotions in our children, and expect them to grow and learn from them?

It’s unrealistic.

Today I challenge myself. For one week I will not yell at my children. I will find other ways of letting them know my thoughts and feelings. I will show them how much they mean to me, even when I don’t like their actions. From Sunday to Sunday I will take a deep breath and remain calm with my precious girls.

My Precious Treasures

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5 Comments

Filed under Parenting

5 responses to “I Have a Treasure, Not Made of Gold

  1. I’ve often wondered if the imaginary monsters children have in their closets or under their beds are in fact those very images of us scaring them. It is a hard pattern to break, I can trace my (sometimes) lack of patience back four generations, but each generation has done better than the generation before. Perhaps, that’s all we can ask of ourselves in the end.

    • I believe our reaction during day to day life effect our children’s imaginations and sleep quite a bit. I know Agatha wakes more on days I’m less than patient. I also know she needs more reassurance on those days. In general if I just relaxed my life would be easier. If only relaxing were as easy as it sounds.

      I think being better than the previous generation is a good place to start. Personally I’m trying to be better than I am at the moment.

  2. That’s fabulous, and certainly I would like to evolve to be more calm too. I guess I was saying, don’t be too hard on yourself. 🙂

    • : ) thanks. I know I am too hard on myself sometimes, but I also think it helps me figure out ways to change what I’m doing. I’ve read so many parenting books, I’ve found the ones that resonate with me. I follow blogs of people I respect, I try to surround myself with like minded families, but in the end it’s still up to ME to become the mother I want to be.
      I hope to continue to look for new and better ways of interacting with my family. I hope we’ll beet the odds and each year and each child will bring more happiness into our lives, rather than less, as the studies show.

  3. I initially found the change to three tiring, but I was where I wanted to be and that made all the difference in the world. You’re right, it doesn’t how much we learn or read – it’s up to us to actually do the parenting.

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