Wednesday, October 24, 2012

And then I got sent to time out


You know how moving is, you feel like you are making so much progress but then there are still piles of stuff everywhere? Hiring movers is nice, but it'd be way nicer if they'd decide what to throw out or keep, pack and unpack it all, and then clean everything up when we're done. As I could find no such paid help, life just felt very up-hill-both-ways for a while there. So when Maggie accidentally hit me in the eye with her magical fairy wand of death and destruction (who designs these things anyway? could you fit any more sharp corners on a projectile-worthy child's toy?!), I might have loudly and stupidly overreacted (I briefly suspected that I lost an eyeball forever). And my husband, who probably felt as exhausted as I did (minus the eye pains/fears) was understandably annoyed by my outburst and let me know it. And then, I totally overreacted again. Except even worse. It turns out, I am capable of being a really, terribly annoying human being sometimes. But it totally made me realize why THIS (connect before you correct) is so important. All I wanted in that OHDEARGOD-MY-EYEBALL fit was some help and maybe a little sympathy. And getting an angry lecture just made me want to throw another fit. And (because I'm sometimes not much more mature than my toddlers) I did. 

And ZOMG, that is totally how I respond all the time when my kids throw fits. I immediately get frustrated and start telling them what they should do instead, ignoring the fact that the meltdown came from a place that needed help. And maybe it would be better if my first priority as a parent was to address that underlying stress and my second priority was (once they were in a more emotionally stable place) to show them a better way to deal? (or even better, if I had stepped in before the fit to help them deal with the stress in advance of a meltdown!) All it could take is a simple, "are you upset? what can we do to make this better?" to let the kids (or, you know, their mom) know that we are in it together and our goal is to help make this better.

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