Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Parenting is tough!!!

Parenting can be hard.  I love my kids I really do, but as I sit here tonight reflecting on the day... let's just say it was rather a hard one.  I'm drained and too tired to do anything even though my to do list is a mile long.  My darling husband is feeling the same way.

Let's just say this right now to get it out of the way.  My way of parenting will be different than yours.  We have different children, beliefs, priorities and such.  I'm okay with that if you are.

My middle son is six years old.  For those of you familiar with Waldorf education you will have heard of the 6 year change.  Yup it's a real thing and we are dealing with it right now.  I know it shall pass and well will all be okay because we've already weathered this storm with our oldest.  I'd say it's more of a crazy rollercoaster ride with big emotions to navigate.

There different ways of approaching a child with strong feelings that come across as defiant, angry, aggressive, bad tempered, annoying... my list can go on about the ways MJ has been acting lately.  Of course there are fabulous things too about the little guy, but today was full of big feelings that came out with hitting, name calling and ignoring direction.

A few weeks ago with our first snowfall

We do our best to have firm loving boundaries.  When MJ did something really hurtful or dangerous today I did as many would do and gave a punishment (took away his screen time).  When it happened later in the day he lost his evening TV time too.  I don't usually take this approach but I had already given multiple warnings, reminders, talks, time outs... Anywho late afternoon was horrible around the house.  He was so upset and angry with everyone and took it out on all of us.  It got worse and he burst into tears.

I'd like to say now that I was able to diffuse the situation quickly but we have other children in the home, dinner and other things going on.  So it is complicated and difficult.  Surely you understand.

When I finally got some alone time with my little boy his feelings burst out.  He shared how he felt his punishments were unfair, he wanted his screen time back.  He was showing us how mad he was.  Inside he felt like he wanted to put a garbage can full of poop on my head because he was so upset that he lost his Wii time because he had forgotten the rules (we've been struggling with dangerous maneuvers on the couch).  So that is why he put his empty smelly garbage can on me.  We cuddled and talked some more about what he had done, who he had hurt, what would be a better way to deal with it all.  We are still working on how to remember the rules, but instead of loosing all his screen time he asked if he could take on extra chores for the couch stunts.  As for hurting his big brother he asked if TJ could get extra Wii time and an apology.

I totally could have stuck to my guns today.  MJ would be denied any screens as punishment for loosing control.  But instead I chose to connect with my little boy.  We talked about his feelings, why things happened, what we could do differently.  I chose to deal with his heart and our relationship.  Yes I changed my mind, but I am glad I did.  The rest of the evening went great and he was much calmer.  I learned a lot about what he is dealing with these days.

Will he go wild again?  Of course!  Will he hurt his brothers again? Probably tomorrow morning.  Will we have to have more discussions?  YES! and I'll do that first before jumping in with empty threats.

Life is a journey.  It is hard, messy, rewarding and wonderful.  I am so glad to be on this ride with my boys.  Let's see what tomorrow brings.