Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mistakes

As parents, if we are lucky, we will be able to make many mistakes when it comes to raising our children.

Those mistakes will allow us to learn. Our children will learn and we will learn.

If we’re lucky, we make the little mistakes often enough that we never make the big mistakes. We never make the life-altering mistakes.

Although sometimes those little mistakes feel big.

When your child’s eyes are red-rimmed and overflowing with tears, his breath is coming in hiccups and his screams are in a tone that tells of his outrage at the injustice of it all… that’s when those mistakes feel larger than they are.

Lately I’ve been trying to make sure that I follow up on the promised consequences of misbehavior. Two nights this has resulted in each of my children being sent to bed slightly earlier than normal without reading books or snuggling.

I’ve been feeling that my children don’t take me seriously. I tell them to stop jumping on one another and they don’t stop. It’s as though I’ve remained silent. Have I mentioned that I’ve tried just telling them to stop?

It doesn’t do anything. They continue. I am a big joke.

So I decided that I needed a little less talk and more action.

At the same time, I’m refreshing my knowledge of Love and Logic parenting. The love and logic philosophy is counterintuitive to the less-talk more-action approach that I started this week.

So I’m sure that I’m thoroughly confusing my children.

Hell, I’m confused myself.

Sometimes I want to throw myself on the floor and have a tantrum. If you ask my kids, they will tell you that I’ve come pretty close to doing just that.

I’m making so many mistakes that I’m worried that I’m damaging my children’s self-esteem. What is wrong with me? Am I the parent or not? Because I’m acting like a sulky teenager who is not getting her way.

I have my little tantrum and then I feel like crying (which I sometimes also do). I feel guilty that I get so angry. I think things like “well if he just would listen I wouldn’t get so mad,” but the truth is that it is my problem, not his. My children are being children. They’re testing their boundaries. They have things they’d rather do than listen to their mommy blather on about the multitude of things she thinks they shouldn’t do.

How do I turn this around? How do I stop myself from traveling down this slippery slope of sloppy parenting?

I think that I need to learn to remove myself from the room. Maybe go to the bathroom if I find my anger increasing, or go to my bedroom and close the door. (I’m usually followed though.)

I need to learn to give in on some things. Maybe it’s not that important that the kids sit in time-out in silence. Maybe they can babble to themselves and still be in time-out. Maybe it’s more important for me to let it slide than to increase my blood pressure over this.

Of course these things are easier said than done. But it’s important that I try.

3 comments:

chelle said...

Always trying is what makes us better parents. I have bad days oh gosh I have bad days ... I have been working really hard at shaking it all off and focusing on the children but it is tough.

Casdok said...

Yes trying is the important thing.

Michelle said...

I think that one of the hardest things to do as a parent is to change the script -- you know, the one that you were handed by your OWN parents, when you were a kid?

For Chris and I, we've decided NOT to do a few of the parenting techniques that our own parents swear by. Even though he is still little, I've had to stop myself mid-swat - hand raised to pop that little cloth-diapered butt - and remind myself that I'm not going to do that. It's wierd, though, when the voice in your head is what your mom/dad would have said -- and you realize you don't know what to say in its place. (Or hey, maybe that's just me, and I need to look into medication. Ya think?)