I just read this blog post “You can be kind, they can be angry” by CreativeWithKids, and I feel the need to write about it here simply so that the interest, inspiration and deep desire to change that it sparked inside me does not fade away as soon as I turn off my computer, go to bed and completely forget about the post.
The basic message, that you need to let your kids be angry and upset when they don’t get their way, I have heard a million times before. And I have known for a long time that it is important. I have even sat down many a times and thought about the how I plan to calmly set limits and just calmly accept my children’s reactions. And yet, reading this post, I can see that this is something I am still consistently getting wrong. The scenario the author described is very familiar to me. Somehow I feel threatened when my children are upset with me. I feel like that means I must be doing something wrong. So then I get defensive: ‘no, no, no… I’m NOT doing anything wrong this is FAIR, I am being MORE than reasonable, and I am being unfairly attacked!’ So I snap and yell… and it gets a bit ugly. I know that what I should be doing is calmly sticking to my limits, and letting the kids get upset… but somehow they just get to me…
So, what do I want to take from this post?
The author makes the point that allowing children to be unhappy or angry about limits helps them to build resilience. I think that seeing their unhappiness as a positive character building experience, will really help me to be OK with it, and not get stressed out by it. If I think about it this way, then my kids can be upset, and I can still be telling myself that I am an awesome mum (because I’m helping my kids build resilience!) And I’ve discovered that feeling like an awesome mum, is pretty much half the battle in being a peaceful non-yelling mum. When I feel awesome, I become the parent that I want to be.
Another thing I want to remember from this post is the metaphor of a swing in relation to children and boundaries and feelings of freedom. The author quotes Amanda Morgan:
“While the best thing about the swing is the feeling of freedom, it’s actually the boundaries that make the activity enjoyable.”
I want to remember this, and remember that my setting limits and boundaries brings my children safety and security, allowing them to experience joy and freedom within the safety of the boundaries that I set for them.
(And just a general reminder) Model kindness, calmness and self control
I need to remember that my actions are teaching my children. My children are watching me. So instead of reacting and letting my emotions get the better of me, I should be thinking about how I would like to see my children behave if they were faced with a similar situation or challenge, and then take the oppourtunity to give them a demonstration.
Just because I’m sticking to a limit doesn’t mean I have to be cold and heartless. I can still show my children warmth when they are upset, and I can validate their feelings without changing my position.
And now, I think I can go to bed with the confidence that some of this might actually stick for a bit… and even if I do forget…. one day I will come across it again when I’m reading my own blog! 🙂