Sometimes blog posts just drop into my lap. This was one of those times. Just another day in paradise, coping with the usual chaotic pick up from day care, where my children were inevitably bickering over some take-home item that clearly didn’t belong to either of them (after being perfect at day care all day long…remember How to Speak the Right Language: Understanding Your Child’s Cues?).
As one delivered the “You don’t take things from me!” in screechy, ear-deafening banshee-wail and raised a hand to grab/pinch/hit/take your pick, I curbed the fight with a simple, direct “Let me be the mommy.” They immediately looked to me and I started to talk to both of them about the item and who it belonged to and brokered the appropriate peaceful resolution.
As I turned back to packing their things, another mom walked up to me and said “That’s a fantastic phrase! I’ve never heard that before and it’s so smart. I’m totally going to use that. Thank you!!” And the blog post angels sing. As Gru in Despicable Me (best movies ever!) says, “Lightbulb!”
So, what does that phrase mean to my kids? I noticed that both of them just love playing the role of the little policeman. They constantly boss each other about, are the first to ring the bell when someone breaks a rule and often get into huge fights with each other over perceived injustices that sometimes, almost always, end up with someone crying, getting hit/pinched/bit/take your pick or an all out WWE wrestling match.
I started asking “Hey! Who is the mommy here?” and they’d both yell “You are the mommy!” and I’d reply “Ok, then, let me be the mommy and step back a minute and trust me to figure this out for you.” Situation diffused. It’s evolved over time to just “Let me be the mommy” and while not a perfect system, most of the time, it gives me just enough pause to step in and regain control.
This serves two major purposes for my kids and I:
1. It teaches them to trust me to advocate on their behalf and proceed fairly to a calm resolution that makes everybody happy. The “hurt” individual gets vindicated and the “hurting” individual gets an opportunity to thoughtfully choose to do the right thing.
2. It teaches them that it is inappropriate for them to take matters into their own hands and address frustrations with violence. The better response is to seek help from a trusted adult.
Identifying family roles and appropriate behavior are key at this age. We’re currently battling the tantrum phase as well, and I’m sure I’ll be blogging more about that little gem later. Right now, this is our mommy phrase that pays and I’m going to keep on keepin’ on with it until the cows come home.
How to Avoid the Epic Meltdown: Understanding Your Child’s Cues
Duh, duh, duh….the dreaded meltdown. With one kid, this can bring the strongest mommy to her knees. With multiples, well…the word “epic” takes on a completely new meaning. In the worst possible way.
Moral of the story? A little organization and forethought can go a long way. Considering WHY my kids were throwing tantrums and then exploring what I could do to prevent them before they started has saved me a million tears. Like I said, it’s not a perfect system. But every little bit helps.
How to Speak the Right Language: Understanding Your Child’s Cues
Every day I pick up my children from day care to hear “They are such great kids! They had a blast today and are some of the best listeners we’ve ever had. They’re so well-behaved!” Yay, Mama win! And then we go home and they act like total demon-infested, hell-raising psychos and won’t listen to a word I say. Weekends can be brutal and I sometimes find myself praising Jesus that I decided to keep working and not stay-at-home.
sweet kids from day care?
Best Thing I Ever Did: I went to pick the kids up one day and they were enjoying themselves, so I decided to just sit and watch for a bit and let them play. Funny thing happened. I started listening to how the day care teachers communicated with my children and how they responded. And the light bulb went off. I don’t know how to speak the language my kids understand.
I started listening harder. And then I came back the next day and did it again. Now, every time I drop off or pick up, I listen. How are they talking to my kids? What are they saying? How are the kids responding? And then I mimick it at home.
Major win!!! My kids are starting to see an extension of their daily routine back into the home and it’s making sense. I say certain words they’re used to hearing and like magic, they listen. Not every time (which I suspect also happens at day care), but the majority of time. Major improvement. We are starting to speak the same language.
Sometimes I forget (or refuse to admit) that I am not my children’s primary care provider. For those of us that work outside the home, most often our kids spend the majority of their time somewhere other than with us. Sometimes, being reminded of that hurts. A lot. But truth is, they develop routines, cues and references that we’re not familiar with. We need to learn the language they are used to hearing every day so that we can communicate our needs in a way they understand. I need to speak my children’s language.
Phrase Adjustments that Worked for Me:
- “Walk away please” instead of “No!” or “Don’t Touch!”
- “Are you using your listening ears?” instead of “Listen to me!”
- “I’m going to go to work for awhile, but Mommies always come back!” instead of “Say bye to Mommy. I have to go to work.”
11 Alternatives to Self Harm: Emily Speaks
If you’re just connecting with the Emily Speaks series, be sure to check out her first post, Cyber Bullying and Self-Harm, to catch up. Today, Emily will be sharing 11 alternatives to self harm to help those hurting to make healthier choices to cope with emotional struggles.
I know it can be hard not to self-harm if you’re being bullied, but you need to try to think of other ways to deal with the pain. Cutting leaves angry scars on your body. You should try to deal with your hurt in other ways. Here are 11 good examples that will hopefully help you out a little bit.
1. Try talking to somebody about what’s going on so that you can get it out of your system.
2. Go outside where nobody is around and just scream as loud as you can for as long as you want.
3. Take a rubber band and keep it on your wrist so whenever you feel like cutting you can just take that rubber band and snap it on your wrist (softly – not to where it harms you).
4. Get an old teddy bear or stuffed animal that you don’t want and take your anger out on that.
5. Go on a jog or go out and ride your bike or long board or whatever you have and just ride around to calm yourself down.
6. Go hang out with your friend(s) and get your mind off things that would make you want to cut or do anything else to harm yourself.
7. Sleep it out and take a long nap and see how you’re feeling when you wake up.
8. Go hang out with your family and just relax.
9. Listen to some music.
10. Read a book.
11. Get an art journal and draw out your feelings. You can paint, draw pictures, even just scribble hard.
These are some of the ways that I stop myself from cutting, because I do still think about it when things get rough. When that happens, I try to do these instead and it helps. It does! You need to do anything that would take your mind off of any bad thoughts you are having and make you want to hurt yourself. This might not be the best list of ideas, but if you take a chance and try them out, they might end up working for you. You’re not only helping yourself, but you’re helping everyone else around you by making a better choice to not self-harm.