Today was a little bit crappy and discouraging as far as peaceful parenting goes. But instead of dwelling on that, I’m going to keep looking forward, and work on strategies so that I can do better next time similar situations arise.
So here goes.
What to do when:
*My child wants me to play a game that I really really don’t feel like playing right now.
-Firstly, ask myself, is it possible to just let go for a bit, forget about to-do-lists etc, and just relax and play the game? I might even have fun, if I can let go of my other agendas. Remember that my kids are growing up. This right here is an invitation to connect and be a part of it, and not miss it.
-If I really can’t – be honest. Maybe agree to do it, or another activity later (and stick to my promise. Suggest something else we could do together. Or suggest something he can do on his own or with his sister (so that I can have a break)
*My child has a melt down because I won’t play a game with him.
-Go over to him and give him a hug. Tell him that I love him. Tell him that it is so sweet that he wants to play with me… and I know that its because he loves me so so much, and that makes me feel really special.
-Explain to him that just because I don’t want to play with him right now doesn’t mean I don’t love him… I just need to rest, or really want to get XYZ done.
-Give him an example of a reversed situation: “Sometimes you don’t want to do the things I want to do either. Sometimes I say, lets do some drawing together or give each other foot massages, but you don’t want to because you’re busy doing something else. That doesn’t mean you don’t love me!! You just want to do something different right now.”
-Schedule in some time together… “How about, after I’ve ….. we ….. together?” And stick to it.
*We’re both in bad moods and cranky at each other, because I’m not playing with him and he won’t stop whining at me, and I’m so tired and over it, even though I went to bed early, and I’m trying really hard to look after the house so I don’t feel like a slob, but I still feel like a slob, and a horrible mother.
-Maybe just let go of all bad feelings, and do something really basic together…. Jump on the trampoline, eat some snacks on the steps, snuggle on the couch, read some books, tickle fights and areoplane rides on the bed, running races outside
*It’s time for bed and as usual he’s getting distracted by anything and everything, and pays no attention to me calling out instructions to him (from my bedroom where I am feeding his sister to sleep), reminding him that he is running out of time.
-Continuously ask him what the time is. And then ask or tell him how much time is left until lights out.
-Ask him if he wants story time tonight… then remind him how much time until lights out… and ask him how he’s going to make it happen. What’s the plan?
-Encourage him “…. oh you’ve got your pajamas on! All you need to do now is XYZ! and then we’ll have some story time”
-Warn him that time is running out, and ask if he is still planning on reading. “Time is running out! Are you wanting to do some reading tonight?” “Ok, well there’s only … minutes left, do you think you can make it?” “OK then, You’re going to have to really focus on getting it done, OK……”
*He has run out of time for a story, because he didn’t pay any attention to me telling him to hurry up, and was dilly dallying instead of getting ready. He gets really upset and insists that he should still have a story.
-Empathise with him and express my own disappointment. “I know, that is so annoying and upsetting isn’t it. I really love story time too.”
-If he asks why he can’t have a story, say: “well its past 8:30 which is time for the lights to go out.” ” We have to have make limits to make sure you get enough sleep and have lots of energy for tomorrow, so you can learn and have lots of fun at school.” “You just relax now and have a really good rest”
*We end up in a pointless verbal battle of wills.
-Drop the battle. Give him a hug, or say ‘Honey, I love you.’ Then say, ‘lets not fight, OK.’ Empathise and validate how he is feeling rather than trying to win the battle.
And from yesterday: *Kids aren’t listening to me when I’m trying to tell them to stop jumping and flipping on my bed because they need to get ready for bed. They’re having such a wild and crazy fun time, that trying to get through to them is like trying to knock down a brick wall.
-Break through the brick wall by getting closer…. put my arm around him or hand on his shoulder. Gently turn his head to face me and make eye contact. Tell him that I’m trying to connect with him. Insist that he respond to what I’m saying. Maybe ask him to repeat it, or ask him what he is going to do now (as a result of my instruction).
-If the hand on the shoulder is not going to work, maybe try to join him where he is at….. jump with him for a bit till he’s ready to talk to me.
-Remember that sometimes he tries to get through to me, and he can’t get through that brick wall either. Try and be more receptive when he initiates connection with me.