2 Things to Remember When You’re Having a Rough Day With Your Kids
I think I’ve talked with Asher about being a “better listener” at least once an hour since Lisa has been on her trip to California. Probably more.
Typically I’ll ask him to do something, or stop doing something, about 3 or 4 times. Then I say, “Hey buddy, I need your attention. Did you hear what I asked?” Then we talk about listening the first time so dad doesn’t have to repeat himself over and over.
After having that conversation a dozen times yesterday morning I reached my boiling point.
We were trying to get out the door for a Target run before Abel’s nap. Our window of time was shrinking fast because Asher wouldn’t do anything I was nicely asking.
So instead, I tried yelling and throwing his Batman slippers at the closet in an effort to get his attention and get him to put his clothes on.
It worked, but there were many tears. And not just from Asher. Abel watched the whole thing are started crying himself. He’s very sensitive and empathetic.
Now I have two crying toddlers, I’m still pretty angry, but I just feel guilty about it all…
Why the need to rule my kids with fear? As an adult, shouldn’t I be able to model to my kids what it is to control your emotions?
Remember These Two
1) You Reproduce What You Are
More is caught then taught.
How you treat your kids will probably be how they treat everyone else, including you.
So if I yell and scream and throw Batman slippers when I don’t get my way, I shouldn’t expect them to do anything else when they’re in the same situation.
I literally acted like a toddler when my toddlers were acting like toddlers. All self-control went out the window. I showed my boys that when you’re bigger, badder and instill fear, you get your way.
What I should have shown Asher is that he does not control my emotions. I control my emotions. If I have to ask 1,000 times for him to do something, my demeanor should remain the same. Calm.
2) Apologize to your kids.
I’m not a perfect parent, and this won’t be the only mistake I make.
Donald Miller tells a great story in his book Scary Close. He notices how close his friend’s family is to one another, and he asks why.
The answer is: authenticity.
Donald’s friend held this value so high that when he had an emotional affair he not only admitted it to his wife, but told his children as well, and asked for their forgiveness for how he hurt the family.
While his kids were understandably angry and hurt, in the long run they forgave him and were able to talk about it. That kind of authenticity and vulnerability built a family with an unbreakable bond.
Losing my temper wasn’t as an emotional affair, but it was absolutely a mistake.
I sat down with each of my boys individually to apologize and ask for their forgiveness. I made sure they knew that my actions were wrong, and that I knew they were wrong. There was no excuse for me to behave like that, I realize I hurt their feelings and scared them, and I was sorry.
Even at the ages of 4 and 2 I believe their forgiveness was a necessity in keeping our hearts connected as a family. Modeling this early in their lives will set a precedent for how we treat each other in our house when we screw up.
Our kids our watching us both when we blow it, and when we clean up our mess. How we handle ourselves in either situation will paint the picture of what our kids will likely reproduce.
How do you react when your kids don’t act how you want? Are you able to admit your mistakes to your children when you make them?
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