Saturday, August 1, 2009

Ways to Keep Your Cool:1-3

I'm not sure if it was what you might term "fate" that I happened to find a long lost parenting article I printed out a year and a half ago and then forgot about, but the other day, right out of the blue, I found an article entitled "Seven Ways to Keep Your Cool." Sounds a little fishy, doesn't it? Especially considering the fact that lately, as soon as my husband walks through the threshold from work, I've riddled him with how trying one of my children has been and how difficult it has been to remain the calm, loving parent I'm working to become. So, either my husband is trying to offer helpful hints, or God is answering my prayers with less subtle messages in hopes I'll finally catch on. Either way, I thought I'd share a couple of these ideas that I think are from the Good Housekeeping magazine last year.

1- Know When You're Being Baited

We all have triggers--certain words that set us off or shut us down--and no one knows that better than our kids. So seal your lips whenever you hear these classic calls to arms: "I hate you!" "You're stupid!" And the real killer, "I wish I had a different mother."

Okay, seriously, the more I think about it, this paper must have fallen from heaven because I hear each of these phrases numerous times nearly every day, and as hard as I try to ignore them, thinking "this is simply kid-typical behavior," I struggle. What I really want to do is run into my bedroom crying. I know they're just kids and they don't mean it, but that information does not seem to make their words any less painful. Am I alone here? Oh well, I guess I'm going to have to start repeating in my mind the words, "you're just being baited, you're just being baited." Maybe that will work.

2-Don't Mess With Messy Bedrooms

Having their own space is essential to kids becoming separate individuals--and if it's "their" room, they can keep it the way they want (except maybe a twice-yearly cleansing for hygiene's sake). Whenever you look at their lair and feel a hissy fit coming on, go clean your own room instead.

A hissy fit? Have these guys been peeking in my windows? I understand the concept of children having their own space--I really do--but when a room becomes so messy it's dangerous, should we not intervene? Or when we can't find anything anymore due to the piles of clothes and toys and objects shoved under the beds? I can't help but think there's a certain limit to this advice, but then again, maybe that's why I needed to read it.

3-Give Up Your Need to Know How They Feel

You can ask, but they usually won't tell--and then you get mad and risk a blowup. Yelling is particularly pointless in this situation, since most of the time kids simply don't how how they feel (neither do most adults). So inquire about their feelings, help them learn to express themselves. But let go of your need to make sure they feel the "right" way, which is usually nothing more than the way you think they should.

Who writes this stuff? (jk) Honestly, lately I haven't wanted to know how my kids really feel. Their actions have said enough. What I struggle with is wanting them to know how I feel, and I'm pretty sure they're getting tired of that.

If you're dying to know what 4-7 are on the list, just tune in next week. For now, I'm just trying to work on 1-3. I have a feeling one of these days I'm going to give up on trying to keep my cool, and enjoy a good, long fit. I figure as long as the kids are gone to school while it happens, I'm not in the red. Only 22 more days!