My husband and I were discussing an upcoming Joyful Parenting class I am teaching. I was reviewing what I did two weeks prior and where I thought next steps would be. As we were talking, he said things that rang true for us as parents with our kids.
I told my husband that lately I have felt I have been more short with our kids, and not following suit with everything I have been working on and what I teach on regarding JOYFUL PARENTING and CHANGING PATTERNS and BEHAVIORS to create more JOY.
He brought up something very interesting. He said, “We, meaning him and I, are NOT answering our kids with straight answers.” For example, when they ask us to do something we say, “In a minute”or “I’ll think about it” or “Be patient”. He said, “This gives them a false sense of time on what we are saying we will do.”
How you ask?
A minute ends up being ten, twenty, or thirty minutes. Or when we say “I’ll think about it” we never really come back to it. “Be patient” doesn’t lead to anything else.
WHAT AN AMAZING REFLECTION!
I never even thought about this and after this conversation it helped me realize that this can be really be FRUSTRATING for our KIDS.
As he continued, he said, “If we say ‘in five minutes’ then we have to do it in five minutes. Or we need to answer with a direct answer such as, ‘Not at this time’.”
If we know that we won’t be outside to play soccer in a “few minutes” why would we say “a few minutes”. I have seen our kids get frustrated over and over again about this. When we know something ISN’T going to happen, instead of saying, “I’ll think about it” we should be saying, “Not at this time.” Why wouldn’t we just be direct or straight up?
I asked him why we are doing this and he said, “It is our attempt to avoid conflict yet it is creating conflict.” He is spot on. That is exactly what is happening. We are responding to our children with these indirect answers, then they come back to us over and over again and we get frustrated and annoyed because they keep asking us. We keep pushing them off and this is when CONFLICT is created.
NOW we have a behavior that we need to change. We have to be thoughtful and conscious of what we are answering and how we are answering it. We HAVE to follow through on what we say. If I say, “Yes, I can play soccer with you in ten minutes,” then I HAVE to stop doing what I am doing in TEN MINUTES and go outside to play soccer. Or if I say, “I’ll be downstairs in a minute,” then I NEED to be downstairs in a minute.
I have recently been studying more about NEUROPLASTICITY and it fits with EVERYTHING we do! I have created a PATHWAY in my brain that is indirectly answering my children and NOT following through. That PATHWAY is thick because I do this over and over. NOW it is time to create a NEW PATHWAY, making it stronger and narrowing the one that isn’t SERVING me or my children.
So no matter what your struggle is in parenting, there is a way to create a new PATHWAY to eliminate or lessen a specific struggle and handle it more JOYFULLY.
It’s about changing a pattern and behavior that is a JOY CRUSHER and CREATING a NEW one that brings JOY.
DON’T WE ALL WANT TO ELIMINATE OUR PARENTING JOY CRUSHERS and CREATE MORE JOY within our FAMILY?!
Living in DAILY JOY!
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