My Secret Parenting Weapon

Every parent has one. Something that calms the savage child faster than anything else. My secret weapon is a God send. If only I remembered to use it more often.

This has been one tough week. Cordelia’s a tad distracted during the day, and so really doesn’t nurse. Which means she’s latched on pretty much all night. I find I don’t sleep near as well when someones biting me. I’m not sure why.

Agatha’s taken to waking up after roughly ten hours of sleep. Anything less than twelve usually results in massive tears within moments of opening her eyes. It also means she’s likely to attack her sisters over every little slight.

Ella’s growing. I’m not sure in what way yet, but each day presents us with a different personality. Most of them are happy, but a curve ball is still a curve ball, even if we manage a home run.

With roughly four hours of disjointed sleep per night, I’m trying to help my girls navigate a crazy world full of so many different opinions and ideas. By itself that’s pretty tough, but I’m not the most pleasant person when I’m tired.

The other day we were out with friends and Agatha took both hers and Ella’s babies for herself. And refused to give one to Ella. I tried pleading, cajoling, begging. But nothing worked. I was ready to force her to hand it over. Just in time, I remembered.

I said. “Agatha, we have a bit of a problem and need to find a solution. I really need your help.” A huge smile spread across her face at the word ‘solution’. I said, “I see two little girls, and two babies. But I see one little girl holding both babies while the other little girl cries. Can you help me find a solution?”

She instantly handed over the baby Ella wanted and said, “How about Ella hold this one, I hold the other one?” She handed it to Ella and asked Ella if it was okay. They both agreed.

This secret weapon didn’t work over night. We needed to use it several times before the girls trusted me enough to use it. They needed to know I’d listen to their ideas, without discounting them out of hand. They needed to know, that I wouldn’t force my own ideas. They needed to know I trusted them to find a solution, they also needed to trust themselves.

Over the past few days I’ve used this on several occasions. The words alone are enough to calm a tense situation. It’s such a wonderful tool. Everyone leaves the scene feeling loved and respected (though I don’t guarantee happy). All I need to do now, is use it whenever a conflict happens.

Tomorrow I have an appointment and want to go alone to make things fast and easy. Agatha wants to go with me. I’m going to explain my point of view, and ask her to help me find a solution. I wonder what she might come up with.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “My Secret Parenting Weapon

  1. I’ll have to try that sometime. My daughters are one and three and right now, they seem to love playing with the same toy — or with whatever their sister has. Perhaps having a chat with my older daughter can help remedy some of the fighting and shrieking that goes on when they both want dolly/stroller/phone/etc.

    • : ) My girls went throughout he same thing, at times they still do – but it really helped to tell them what I saw, and ask for help finding a solution. In the beginning I needed to very clearly tell them what the problem was: I see two girls with angry faces both pulling on the same dolly. IIt looks to me like both my girls want to play with the same doll. Is that right? – Allow them to agree or correct as needed – “Hmm that’s a bit of a problem. I wonder if we can find a solution everyone will be okay with?

      At first I needed to offer the majority of suggestions – sharing, taking turns, finding a different doll, trading etc – but now they usually come up with their own solutions and it works great.

  2. Love it. Mine are all at that age too where there’s a million toys laying around but all 3 want to play with the same one too…then there’s fighting, screaming and tattling…”Moooooooooom!!!!” So I’ll go in, observe the situation, make sure the toy is safe for the baby first and then, “Okay, you guys need to figure it out.” Then walk away. They all pause and look at me like ‘are you crazy? That’s why we called you’ but then they seem to remember what to do, we’d been over this scenerio a hundred times, and they already know the tools and suggestions to solve the problem, and not more than a minute after I’ve left the room, they’re sharing and playing happily together, laughing and singing again. They figured it all out. It seems that right now, they’re so young their first thought is ‘call mom’ and then they just need that extra little reminder to “figure it out themselves” and then they got it. Someday, they won’t even need me to intervene at all, they’ll just naturallly fall into self-fixing the situation…I hope!!! LOL. Great blogs Sarah. I like reading about another parent who has similar parenting methods. Just let the kids do it themsleves…with guidance of course, but not too much interferance, letting them think for themselves…of course my laid back parenting style is a constant source of contention with inlaws and even my own parents…that’s not hoiw they were raised…lol, oh well. I’d like my children to be unique individuals, not become part of the mould. I’d like them to grow and feel free to express themselves and their crativity…and it’s wonderful to read about someone else that feels the same way, supportive. Thanks Sarah, once again, your amazing!!!

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