Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Aha moment

On Monday night I had the pleasure of spending several hours with some little friends of ours. They are the same ages as Iris and Eloise and go to school with the girls as well. Their mom and dad were going out for the night and I was excited to babysit because these kids are the sweetest, kindest, smartest kids and are always a pleasure to be around.

Later that night their mom drove me home (just like when I babysat in high school!) and was telling me about a situation that happened with her five year old earlier that day where she totally lost her cool and how upset and guilty she felt about it. When I got home Matt told me about feeling upset about yelling at Eloise about something she had done. It was upsetting to him that he had yelled, but also felt like at times, yelling is the only way to get through to the girls.

I sat and thought about it for a bit, and it seems like many parents I know have trouble yelling "too much" (I say it like that because it seems most parents have a very different idea of what is acceptable in their home). Many of those parents also had parents in their homes growing up who were yellers, as well. With this knowledge, I hit a bit of an "aha moment" and wrote this on Matt's facebook page yesterday morning:

Sorry for the novel, but I thought this would be nice to post here:My "aha" moment this morning was this: Was there another way for adults in YOUR life to get through to YOU without yelling when you were a kid? What other ways do you wish they would have tried connecting with you instead of yelling? How did their yelling "work"? (ie did it just make you mad/scared so you did what he asked or did it make you say "hey wow they are really showing they care about me so I am going to do what they are asking!")

Just put yourself back in your kid body, on the receiving end of that yelling. Then see what kinds of things you feel would work better.

Also, keep in mind: our goal as parents isn't just to get our kids to do what we want them to IN THE MOMENT but rather to have them learn the skills to become productive members of our family and society. We don't want to win the battle just to lose the war, so to speak?

I feel like I really stumbled on something here, for myself at least. Hopefully it will ring true for others, as well. Think about being a child, if you can, and how you would have liked to have been interacted with. Was yelling the only or best way to get through to YOU? Probably not. Even if it was, it certainly wasn't an action that made you feel loved. Likely if you did do what was asked (demanded?) it was out of fear or anger. Is that the best way to get our children to listen to us? I know that I personally don't want kids who are scared of me. Respect me, yes, but not at all scared.

I remember moments of being scared of grown-ups in my life because of their loud, scary voices. It wasn't something I took lightly. It stayed with me. I still remember some of those moments to this day.

You know what else I remember, though? The times I was apologized to for mistakes grown-ups made. No one is perfect. We make mistakes with our kids, but being able to apologize to them and point out that you made that mistake is really important. I really, really struggle with this. I HATE feeling like I was wrong, but you know, if we don't model this for our kids, they won't learn this lesson.

Anyways, I'm rambling now, but maybe some of this will ring true for someone else?

1 comment:

  1. a very good aha moment. and a difficult thing to figure out - i will have to spend some time thinking about this one! i was not yelled at much. we were a spanking house growing up, but not the worst kind. if you are going to spank, which i absolutely do not advocate at all, then it should be done the way my parents did it (not in anger, not in the moment, as a delayed consequence of wrongdoing - and there were only two categories of violations we were spanked for: intentional deceit and flagrant disobedience). but it will take a great deal of thought to come up with what i think i would have responded to best as a child. thanks for the impetus!

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