Sorry about that nice long break there, but I knew that to successfully attempt 31 Days I’d need to suspend most of my other blogging series. While I didn’t manage 31 posts in 31 days it was still an interesting experience.
So where am I now? I’m trying to finish out the year strong by working on my mom skills and returning to my Mindset for Moms series.
Tell Your Kids What You Want
It is easy to just highlight the problem. “Don’t hit your brother. Stop pulling your sister’s hair.” It’s definitely harder to be more specific about what we want instead. “Play nicely.” I’ve never been much for the whole no negatives. Sometimes there just isn’t anyway around it. There’s no way to spin, “Don’t touch the stove or you’ll get burned.” But that being said I think Jamie has a good point that we don’t realize how many negative words we are spewing at our children all day.
For me I think it’s about how I phrase my words as well as my tone or attitude. “Don’t leave your shoes on the floor” becomes “Please put away your shoes.” “Don’t talk to me like that.” becomes “How are you supposed to speak to mommy?”
I’ve really been working on expressing genuine gratitude and appreciation for my children. In the beginning it felt stilted and forced. I had the words of parenting experts spinning through my head telling me that if I affirm them for everything they will grow up expecting a parade for every picked up toy. But I also try to remember who my children are. They are two and five. I know that all they really want is to be loved, the same as any of us. So they obey, I tell them I appreciate it. This has worked especially well with my five year old daughter (though I will admit I think it’s partly her attempt to one-up her little brother). She seems to relish obedience when it produces a smile and thank you from me.
But then again, isn’t this the kind of behavior I want them to emulate? I want them to be more appreciative and more thankful than perhaps is necessary. Who doesn’t love being around someone like that?
So this week I’m going to try and watch my words. Sometimes you have to use the negative words, and I acknowledge that. But maybe there are ways I can limit the negatives to the truly necessary and opt for other choices the rest of the time.