Parents never know how a night is going to end with their children. One would always hope it ends on a HAPPY, LOVING note. There are times this does happen and times it doesn’t. Thursday night ended on a very frustrating note where our 8 year old was crying his eyes out and his Dad and I were very upset.
Looking back there were many MISTAKES on both of our parts that fueled this situation.
We had dinner late that night and by the time we were finished it was past the 8 year old’s time to get ready for bed. I felt like it had been a good evening so I gave him 5 minutes before going to bed.
THIS WOULD BE MISTAKE #1!
He popped on the computer to do a school website math activity.
THIS WOULD BE MISTAKE #2!
I missed his 5 minute timer.
AND THIS IS MISTAKE #3!
So when I realized it I told him to close the computer. He kept saying, “Wait!” It kept going on and on. Yes stall tactic for sure! By the time he closed his computer, he had lost five minutes of screen time the next day and his father and I were not happy. He was CRYING by this point. The situation escalated and he started to tell us we were bullying him and went downstairs.
A few minutes later he came up asking for dessert. I gave him one minute for something quick.
Then he wanted more. I told him he had to go brush his teeth. This then continued to escalate and finally he lost five more minutes of screen time because I had to ask him several times to go brush his teeth. Again, he was crying hysterically.
Finally he was in his bed, and after he was calm I went down to talk with him. I communicated my part in this entire situation and he communicated his part with some prompting. We set up new, STRICT guidelines for bedtimes and consequences for when he doesn’t follow our directions.
WHAT DID WE ALL LEARN FROM THIS….
I, as the parent, was able to communicate to him my part, where I made mistakes and what I would do differently. Plus I communicated the job of a parent and the job of a child. (to clear up his misunderstanding of being bullied versus disciplined). He was able to come to terms with his part in this situation and his mistakes, and what could have happened differently if he did some actions differently.
IT GETS EVEN BETTER!!!
The next night we were talking about where to go to dinner and he started to whine a bit. We all noticed the interaction between us was starting to get elevated, the 8 year old said,
“I choose to stop this conversation because I don’t want it to turn into what it did last night.”
SAY WHAT?! OUR 8 YEAR OLD SAID THAT?! HELL YES HE DID!!!
I was so STOKED to hear him take INITIATIVE to stop the conversation before it turned into the negative fiasco it was heading to. At dinner we CONGRATULATED him for recognizing that and stopping the conversation.
One would usually wonder where this came from. He has heard his father and I use this line often. When we are having a disagreement or starting to argue, one of us has become smart enough to stop the conversation before it gets completely ELEVATED and we get ANGRY. This gives us a chance to take a breath, calm down, get our thoughts refocused, and start over when we are both ready.
I was so proud of our son using this strategy and being able to reflect how much we all were in the RED ZONE the night before and how it didn’t feel good.
Who wants to feel like that at the end of a night OR EVER?!!
I sure as hell don’t and I know my husband and family don’t want to either.
What we do models for our children. They are watching us. When we start using STRATEGIES to SELF-REGULATE ourselves, then our kids will too.
Don’t we all want to teach our children these important strategies and see them implement them correctly?
Let me know what you think about this and what strategies you and your children use.
Living in DAILY JOY!
For 5 FREE Self-Care Tips, join my email list here.