We find ourselves droning on every single day, telling our kids the same things. Often, we are inside our heads thinking “This is such good advice, how come they aren’t listening”? The truth is that WE are not even listening. These are the things we tell our children, that TRUTHFULLY we as their parents, adults, need to be living out better ourselves.
Treat Each Other the Way YOU Want to be Treated!
The Golden Rule, seems so easy right? Except it’s not. If I’m being honest, I’m really selfish. I want back massages, and coffee in bed. I want free time to focus on me and what I want, away from the kids and obligation. I want good gifts, not cheap ones. I want people to speak kindly to me, and tell me that I’m doing a good job. But am I doing that for those around me? Am I really looking at my wife, kids, coworkers and friends and treating them how I want to be treated? The world would be such a different place if even a few of us actually lived this.
Slow down, speak clearly, I can’t understand you!
Kids babble, and get so excited words start to get jumbled. They so often get frustrated because they’re so worked up, they can’t communicate simple things. Isn’t that true for us too? Especially when I’m mad. Don’t I just spout off statements and remarks without really pausing to think about what I’m communicating? I can’t count the number of times I have irrationally spoken without clarity and caused more harm than good. Or been frustrated that there was a miscommunication. Truthfully, I should be slower to speak, quicker to listen.
Did you remember to wash your pits?
Teaching the kids to bathe properly is frustrating, but liberating. We are nearly at the point of independent showers and baths. GAME CHANGER! But this is both practical, and metaphorical for us. We can have some things hiding inside of us that really stink. We need to wash clean those pits, those stinky parts. Because no manner or perfume can cover up the smell.
Calm Down and Focus on the Problem
Every single day, multiple times a day, my kids lose their proverbial ISH over THE dumbest things. Recently my daughter went into a screaming temper tantrum because she couldn’t buckle her seat belt. She belligerently screamed, cried and flailed about. Once I got her quiet, I said “Calm down and focus on the problem.” Low and behold, with a level calm head she got her seat belt on. But how often do I fly into anxiety and stress, even anger and rage when stuff doesn’t go my way? I let the circumstance of the moment overwhelm me. If I could just remember, calm down, focus on the problem, how would MY life change? What can I do right now to fix this? What do I need help with? What do I need to let go of?
What did you learn?
Kids make mistakes. It’s what they’re really good at. They drop things, spill things, mess up on their homework, back talk their parents, hit each other, you name it. Every time they mess up we ask them “What did you learn?” This allows them to see what went wrong, and how next time they can do it different. If we don’t stop and look at our mistakes, really examine what it is that steered us in the wrong direction, we won’t learn how to avoid it next time. Mistakes happen, but we need to learn from them!
Would you like to try that again?
Do overs. We all need them. We all need to extend the same grace to those around us. And allow ourselves the chance for a do over. Accept that you aren’t perfect, it’s ok.
Enough Screens, GO PLAY!
Do iPads come in handy? Of course they do. How often have I been in mid meltdown when I’ve yelled, “YES! Fine! You can get your iPad!!” [I don’t truthfully want to admit how many times, so hush.] I’m also the first to admit that technology isn’t the root of all evil, nor does it have to be bad at all. Both of our kids use a LOT of educational apps and have excelled in reading because of that. But it literally drives me insane sometimes that it’s the #1 consistent thing that they want to do. Pierson is in a phase where he will play basketball, and he’ll play for quite a long time which is GREAT. But then he’ll say, “Can I do my iPad?” instead of playing with the gazillion toys that he has. “I don’t have anything to do,” Reese will say. Or, “I’m bored.” As their mom who has actively been a part of making sure that they have PLENTY to do, there is zero reason whatsoever for either child to be bored. Ever. The screen is the first thing they gravitate towards, but isn’t it the same for us? Perhaps even for you? We were just talking about how we want to get a REAL alarm clock for our bedroom again and charge our phones elsewhere. For so long, they have been what we look at last before we fall asleep. Moderation would be better.
Love, (mostly Asa) ;)