I think it is quite funny how after a parenting class I assume I will get it right and my children will comply like angels. Our house will have warm glow from the street, as we have 4 children with little halos over their head. Michael and I would be perfectly calm all knowing parents. And our children will respond as we expect, using the new found Value Based techniques we have learned. And then the moment things don’t go as the “should” I wonder what we are doing wrong, or what is wrong with our kids. We used the perfect technique and yet they are not doing what I think they should do. So I react with my former technique (previous to value based parenting) with the what are you thinking, don’t argue about this, it is ridiculous, this it how it is and you know it, and your grounded for life, lock and key, never allowed to leave your room. Ok so the latter isn’t something I usually say out loud. Anyway we it may take a day or two before I throw my hands in the air and try what Dean says again. Which is to go into a conversation seeking to understand and not drive home my agenda, even though I know I am right. Ha ha
So the other day I had a chat with my daughter. She had been having what I like to call “melt down moments”, this usually involved rolling of the eyes smoke coming from the ears and the phrases, “it’s not my fault, and you are ruining my life” I usually get aggravated and try to prove to her that she had a part to play in the problem and try to convince her that her attitude is way out of line. Which usually leads to the phrase, “no it’s not, and it’s all their fault. I am sure you can just imagine how the conversation continues to down spiral from here. So, as I was saying, the other day I let go of all my agenda, I let go of the points I wanted to prove, and I simply decided to put the ball in her court. The conversation went like this.
“So Kate, remember wen you were yelling at me the other night insisting I didn’t know what happens” Yes, she replies. Well how do you feel about that conversation? Not good, she answered. What else to you feel? Please be honest, don’t jus try to come up with what answer you think I am looking for, tell me what you feel. And she said,” I don’t like it when you yell at me.” I responded “ oh, I can understand that, I do need to work on that.” Why did you insist on arguing with me?” She said “cause I want to be right.” Do you think you were right? She said “not really, when I was arguing I thought there might be a 1 percent chance I was right, but I knew you probably were, but I didn’t’ want to be wrong.” I thanked her for her honesty and her if she would like to here why I made the statement I made. From here on the conversation went well, I could tell by her facial responses that she understood where I was coming from and agreed with the problem at hand. She walked away with a smile on here face and there was no tension between us.
I just had to laugh. I thought to myself, why am I always so surprised when I am truly not agenda driven, the principals actually do work. Some times it takes a little time, but if I stay at peace and leave my “gotta raise perfect kids” attitude out, we make a lot more progress. I went into that conversation, NOT trying to prove my point but to truley desired to understand what she was thinking and feeling, and wanted her to know where I was coming from too. And thing went sooooo much better. I know there were times I went into the conversation, asking the questions, looking like I was trying to understand them. It sometimes even “looked” like a perfect little value based technique for a moment, however the energy behind it was to prove my point and make my kid behave, and the energy is what the kids pick up on.
Of course, I get on the phone with my boss, Dean Nixon. He has been teaching me the value based parenting concepts. And I am eventually going to teach the classes myself. So while on the phone with him discussing business, my two year old, yep the same one from the Meijer story, went out side in his socks and no coat ringing the loud door bell. It is February, and we just had a snow day yesterday but he doesn’t seem to care. So I pull him inside more to stop the noise of the doorbell, never mind the sock feet in the snow. The conversation went on and I was leaning over my calendar in the kitchen when I heard the clatter behind me. I turned around to see all of our travel toothbrushes scattered everywhere. He must have gotten into the travel bag. Finally, the conversation ends. So I picked up the toothbrushes and headed upstairs and on the steps was my travel bag with the shampoo out and the top off, toothpaste out with the top off, I am just thankful nothing was oozing out of either. Q-tips all over and a band aid was completely opened and sticking to the carpet. At lease this answered my question of where he obtained the Q-tip he was trying to shove in my ear moments ago. And to think all this happened in a matter of ten minutes.
I am finding myself asking the question. Why do we struggle with our humanity? It is perplexing to me that we are all human, yet we all strive to be super-human. All the super hero movies of superman and wonder woman are not to far from what we wish we were and attempt to be. We may recognize the fact that we aren’t bullet proof and we don’t have x-ray vision, but we all want to essentially have bullet proof character and emotions, I do any way. I want to be a perfect parent, one who never is impatient and always knows what to tell her children when they are down. I want to be the perfect wife, with dinner on the table and a smile on my face.( yeah, my husband would probably love this too. Tonight we had what ever we could find in the fridge. I call it hodge podge day.) I want to be that perfect friend who never lets anyone down and never says anything stupid. Basically, I just want to be perfect. But what I am beginning to realize and I hope I continue to realize for the rest of my life is, I am perfect. I am a perfect human being learning and growing everyday. I am a human being who at times struggles with depression or yells at my kids. I sometimes cry over stupid stuff. What I am learning is that is ok. Dean Nixon has a blog post about not accepting our humanity. I always thought that I was a grateful person, a happy person who truly lived life. What is didn’t realize is how I rob myself from enjoying and living life when I am at odds with my own humanity. The very being I am. I can’t say it any better than Dean and his words have helped me these past couple weeks and I want to share them with you….
“One of the most important lessons we can learn is to accept our human state. We tend to fight the simple truths. For example, kids will always get out of control when Mom gets on the phone, or that drinking “diet” coke isn’t going to change the fact we ate a big bowl of ice cream last night, and that we will get our heart broken more than twice. Another simple truth we resist is we are not perfect and are not meant to be, we are progressive and meant to learn and grow. We are constantly at odds with this truth, fighting the aging process, hiding our mistakes and judging others for theirs. We live year by year for a reason, we don’t just get it all over at once. Learning to accept the slow pace from birth to the inevitable death is a journey and we can run through it wearing the blinders of expectation and judgment, or roll the windows down and feel the breeze. That is the simple truth.”
Ya know, I do have my valleys, but I also have my mountaintops. And how much more I appreciate those mountaintops, because I have experienced those valleys. So to this day I say, I am human and proud of it!!!!!
PS. If you want to read more of Dean’s insight, for which I am TRULY grateful for you can check out his blog. DeanNixon.blogspot.com
Change the way you see it. Hmmmm. That is one of TurningLeaf’s principles. A simple concepts sometimes difficult to do.
Today I was running. I wanted to get my heart rate up and have that great feeling after a good workout. So I ran for a bit and when I was finished I just began to cry. It had been a long few days and after my run the tears began to pour. I had just had a conversation with Dean the night before and it ended with him saying “your number one job while you are here on earth is to BE HUMAN. To experience the hills and the valleys. To be excited, to be ticked, to be sad and happy. Your job is to experience the fun times, to go through the struggles. Your job is to grow, to progress as a human being. So change the way you see yourself, and change the way you view the struggle.” So as my tears began to stream down my face, in that moment I changed the way I viewed my emotional state, and I gave myself permission to cry. In that moment I did not view it as weakness or as not having it all together. I thought of that quote “there is a season for everything” and especially the line “there is a time to cry” and I chose to view it as my time to cry. So I cried and I let it feel good. I let it be exactly what it was. An emotional release from all the pressures I was enduring. I let it be a release I needed.
Wow. What a busy day. Out of bed this morning at 7, made lunches and sent the kids to school with Mike. Jump on the treadmill for 10 min. so I could say I worked out today. Then totally exhausted and sweaty after such a strenuous run, I took a shower. Today I was volunteering at the school so as soon as I was ready I took Bo to my sisters and made it to all 3 kids class rooms in 3 hours. Yeah!
The rest of the afternoon pretty much consumed by my Taxi services. Picked up Bo, picked up Timmy and friend from school. An hour later went back to pick up Josh and Kate from after school activity. Went home cooked dinner, got the boys ready for wrestling and sent them out the door with there Dad.
Spent the rest of the evening with Bo and Kate, which was actually a calm evening despite the 10 minutes I was giving Bo bouncy rides on my shins. I know sounds weird on paper but I am sure most of you have humored you toddler in this same way.(lying on your back with your knees to your chest and the kid bouncing on your shins). Anyway, Bo is quiet the sausage. He ways a lot. So I should have gained some muscle tonight. Which technically means I worked out twice today.
But finally all are tucked away and I am ready for bed.
Been There, Done That…I can’t believe my kid ate that.
I want to hear from you. Share your similar experiences that unite us all…
I had taken my kids to McDonald’s one night for dessert and some time on the play land. The kids were up in the tunnels and I took a call on my cell phone. While talking with a friend of mine, my 3 three year old came and sat next to me. I looked at him and said, “Oh, are you finishing your nuggets” and then I was flooded with panic when I remembered we didn’t order nuggets, we only had dessert. Oh gross!
So now I want to here similar stories. Share your “ I can’t believe my kid ate that” story in the comments!!
Well I know it is past Valentines Day but I just wanted to give a shout out to my man. We met when I was 15 and have been together ever since. And after 11 years of marriage I gotta say I love him more than ever. He is truly my best friend. I love how he makes me laugh. He is so funny. In fact, just now I was asking him what to blog about and his response was “how about talk about what an amazing husband you have” He was kidding, but I laughed and thought, what a great idea, and here I am.
I love how steady he is when I am an emotional yo-yo. When I begin to stress all I have to do is stand next to him. And what I love about him most is that he love me for who I am. I can be hard to handle. I am a dynamic person. I have crazy excited highs and can have tear filled lows. I am the wife that keeps going over her texting limit and phone minutes. I am the wife that starts projects, such as moving dressers that are to heavy for me, across the room and he has to finish the job when he gets home from work. And this kind of stuff happens a lot. I love rearranging! But he loves me as am, my faults and all. There are times that I have been so impatient and rude to him, but he is so patient with me. He knows how to calm me down, and rather than get offended at my attitude, that is exactly what he does. Sometimes I believe he knows me better than I know myself.
I am so grateful for this amazing man. I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for him.
“ Thank you Babe for who you are and everything you do. I love you.”
This is a story I forgot to post awhile back. I found it on the old computer I was using at the time. I thought the information I got from Dean was worth sharing.
I had an appointment with Dean and discussed the recent pondering of selling my 4th child on ebay. I began to vent to him about how I was being more consistent with time outs and it wasn’t working. I also told him he listens to my husband fairly well. I mean he is still his testy self, but more often than not he listens to Michael. I also told him how surprised I was when I watched my sister put him in time out and he just stayed there, he didn’t even fight her to get up. I was so jealous. I usually have to sit him back in time out 5 times in 10 seconds before he will sit there, and that’s on a good day. So I asked him the obvious question “what am I doing wrong? His explanation was quite enlightening and it went like this…
You are taking it personally. You are taking his behavior as a personal reflection of your ability to parent. And you are agenda driven, meaning rather that being in the moment, handling that moment with confidence, you are handing that moment with the intention of creating a “perfect child”. And when it doesn’t go as you think it “should” for a “good parent” raising a “good child”, you experience fear, stress and anxiety. You are also looking around at others taking on whatever criticism you “think” they are “thinking”. Rather than it just being you teaching Bo from a place of Love, you have a whole pile of Fear driven emotions you are bringing to that situation and kids feel that, and don’t usually respond well.
So first off you need to draw a mental boundary of how you will allow you to talk to yourself about you parenting abilities. Look at your parenting tactics honestly and be patient with yourself. It is all a learning process. It is time to stop beating yourself up as a mom, and know you’re a good mom and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, not even YOU. And then remember that Bo is his own personality. He may be stronger willed than your others. That’s o.k. too. Don’t compare him to other kids. Learn to work with him as an individual. And remember to be consistent.
Here are some ideas for your next trip to the store. Before you go into the store jump in the back seat and have a little heart to heart. Make sure you have his attention and tell him if he screams, or throws things out of your cart that you will come out to the car and put him in time out. And then go shopping, and if he screams, leave your cart and go put him in time out in the van. And when you carry him out of the store screaming- don’t even give thought to what other’s may be thinking. Don’t even care about anything accept having a powerful learning moment with your son. This will keep your energy and emotions where they need to be, so that Bo can begin learning to be accountable for his own actions. Because until now he hasn’t really needed to be, because You are doing that for him.
After our talk, I decided to postpone the sale on ebay.
And after this conversation, I was able to let go, and take the pressure off myself and it was amazing the difference in Bo’s response. I still find myself falling into that agenda driven pattern or letting peer pressure from other parents get to me, but I pull myself out of it quicker each time.
Well I had been out of town for a week and we needed groceries. My mom-in-law offered to take my kids so I could shop in peace. First I drove ten min. away to drop them off and then continued on another twenty min. to the store. I live in the country so the nearest big grocery store is thirty min. away. I parked the van all excited about the smooth kidless shopping trip when I realized I didn’t have my wallet with me. So ya, need I say more. I drove home and still haven’t gone back. The kids had a four day weekend and we are living on frozen pizza’s.