Monday, May 30, 2011

Home(school) improvement week 2: Don't yell, connect

It's Suzi's fourth birthday today! I love her so much and am so thankful for her.

This week's goal, and where we are now:

The #1 thing I hate and want to change is that I yell at my kids. I know the techniques. Lock myself in the bathroom until the urge to scream and pull my hair out subsides. Count to ten. Take a moment to silently imagine your knee-jerk reaction playing out, then take a deep breath and react calmly. These things and others have indeed helped me.

But, you know. I've got three kids. It's not a matter of implementing these things just several times a day and then saying whew! Glad that's over! No. It's nearly constant. And when I've got the baby in the ring sling and am changing a diaper/helping someone in the bathroom and the other child picks that exact moment to throw a fit or make a big mess or whatever, it's hard to think. Right now, on a good day, I can usually handle things well for most of the day. Then I get tired and start running out of patience. It's not just me, either. Jordan and the grandparents also seem to have a hard time. And I am with them all day (8-5), five days in a row, alone.

What I want to change:

I don't honestly know how much I can improve upon this in a week, but I'm going to try. Here's what I'm going to at least start consciously working on.

1) Adjusting my expectations. Do you ever catch yourself expecting your little kid to behave like an adult? I sometimes do. A reality check on what is developmentally normal for the child's age can help. A young child isn't able to think things through fully and they are still working on gaining control of their bodies. One of my best friends has an admirable amount of patience with children, both hers and other people's, and something I've always noticed is that she doesn't let little things bother her. I'm going to try to remember to ask myself, before I tell the kids to stop doing something, why I am upset by it. Is it mildly annoying but I could let it slide? Or is it dangerous and I need to take action? There are many battles I wish I'd never started.

2) I want to read Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves again, this time all the way through.

3) Listen more than I talk. When there's conflict and I stop myself from fussing at the girls long enough to listen, I frequently come to understand things much better. This leads to a peaceful resolution a lot faster. Also, I think I get so hung up on taking action right away when there's a conflict that I don't give myself time to think of what I really want to say.

4) I know all the other items on my home(school) improvement list will help with this as well. I'm going to continue to work on #1. It's coming, just slowly.

Do you have issues with patience too? What do you do about it?

Stay tuned for the follow-up Friday!


CJ said...

I used to be a yeller as well. It's hard to change the habit, but so worth it to invest the time and energy into changing it!