Okay, so I hate to read posts that say “try this and it will change your life,” but I couldn’t help myself, because in the short time that I have been using this tip, it has changed my life. What I’m going to share is not this amazing theory that will leave you in awe. It’s actually pretty basic and simple, but for that very reason, I think it will help you remember to do it.
My days are not filled with spooning, cuddling, baking, and being in awe of how my child eats all of his veggies on his own and potty trained himself. Though there are magical moments in motherhood, our days are not filled with them. Our kids have tempers and personalities of their own that rub us the wrong way at times.
My two year old regularly wakes up with a chip on his shoulder. The other morning, I heard him coming down the stairs. He plopped his little self down in the kitchen and sat there with a scowl on his face. Just as I was going to be thankful that at least there wasn’t whining with his little attitude, he began. I looked at him and said in my calmest voice, “Son, really. You just got up. Can you try to be happy? What could possibly be wrong? You’re two, you had a full night of sleep, you woke up with parents who love you…” As I was speaking, his scowl turned into this fierce, grumpy face, and he grunted and said, “No, I not happy.” I’m not joking; that was his response to my little pep talk.
This little man knows how to push my buttons. I love him to pieces and can literally just kiss his little chubby cheeks off, but he knows how to set me off. I’ve never been a yeller and did pretty good with my first two, but I constantly find myself raising my voice with him, mostly because I am trying to speak over his screaming and whining.
I am reading this book called Discipline That Connects by Jim and Lynne Jackson, and one of the things they suggest we do is STOP.
Stop and take a moment to calm down.
See? I told you it’s not a groundbreaking parenting theory. It’s simple. Just take a step back before addressing your child.
For the most part, most of our disciplining situations don’t require that we immediately respond. So instead of going in ready to show him who’s the boss, stop yourself and take a moment to calm yourself. For me, it’s a moment to pray for wisdom on how to best approach the situation, and sometimes it’s just a moment to count to 10 very slowly. Then go back and address him in a loving and respectful way. So the next time your child has your heart rate pumping, do this: Take a moment to step back from the situation and breathe.
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