I’m still on the positive parenting bandwagon.
I gotta tell you. It’s hard.
It’s hard because being conscious of everything that comes out of my mouth is tiring.
It’s also hard because being mindful of everything I say has shown me that I say shit sometimes and I don’t even realize it.
A couple weeks ago I asked Number 7 to go upstairs and get her sneakers and she looked right at me and said, “I AM SO SICK OF DOING EVERYTHING FOR EVERYBODY AROUND HERE!”
Hmmm. I can’t imagine where she heard that.
That’s just one example.
We’ve all heard our kids repeat things we’ve said to them ad nauseum.
But it doesn’t even have to be something we’ve said over and over again.
A friend was recently telling me a story about his daughter.
She’s full grown now, but when she was three years old, she was sitting on the floor playing and the dog did something to annoy her, and she looked right at it and yelled, “DAMN FUCKING DOG!”
My friend and his wife looked at each other, completely horrified upon hearing those words.
A week or so before their daughter revealed her new vocabulary, my friend and his wife were on their way out for a date night. It was raining outside, and the friend was going out the front door to pull the car up so his wife’s hair woudn’t get wet, and as he opened the door, the dog bolted outside, and under his breath, you know what he said.
Damn, fucking dog.
It only takes one time for something to stick in those kids ears.
Usually it’s the bad stuff that sticks after only one repetition.
But sometimes it’s the good stuff.
One of the things I’m noticing is that there are a lot of “getting to be right wars” going on in this house.
Everyone needs to be right.
Everyone has to have the last word.
Number 4 is especially challenged in this department.
When I notice her having these moments, recently I’ve been giving her some reminders.
Disengage…. Disengage… Number 4! Disengage!
She gets it. But it’s not easy for her.
And I’ve found myself feeling extremely frustrated when she’s having difficulty not getting into a getting to be right war.
Why the hell is she having so much difficulty with this? She’s a smart kid!
Last week my husband and I were talking.
Without being aware of it, talking turned to a little bit of bickering.
Which turned into a pretty big getting to be right war.
Until Number 4 looked at me, and yelled, “MOM!!! DISENGAGE!!!!”
All I could think of was the drug commercial from the eighties.
I learned it by watching YOU!
Well, at least I know she’s been listening. And I know she’s trying. And I know she’s aware.
I consulted the Positive Discipline book.
“If your child is an arguer, she may have someone nearby who gives her arguing practice.”
“If it’s you, practice letting your child have the last word. (This is harder than you think. Try it.)”
This being a parent crap is hard.
Leading by example is hard!
But listening to your kids constantly bicker and argue and feel the need to have the last word every day is harder. And it’s not fun.
Realizing that I’m contributing to this behavior doesn’t feel great.
But knowing that I’m aware and working on ways to change?
Well that feels pretty darn good.