Good day, everyone! This one is short, but it remains a powerful example of what happens when I stand back and let things play out.
For those of you wanting to catch up:
My younger guy—the now eighteen- and then thirteen-year-old I occasionally give up for Lent—is still a tad inflexible in his thinking. Once he has an idea in his head, he’s often difficult to redirect. I can also tell you, he’s sometimes not nice when he doesn’t get his way.
Like his mother, he likes order and visually pleasing spaces. One evening, he wanted to hang a curtain in the doorway between the laundry room and the semi-finished area of the basement where he hangs out to play video games. I hung the brackets for a rod there about 8:30 PM and gave him an idea of how to thread the curtain onto a rod. (He got one from my bedroom closet about an hour later.)
I’d just sat down to check email (circa 10 PM) when he started calling for help with the curtain rod, which he didn’t know how to get onto the brackets. Long story short, he started throwing a typical fit when I told him I’d help him the next day.
Rather than react—a.k.a. yell (and please don’t ask me where I get this stuff)—I told him he was putting me in the position of being a ‘bad parent’ if I went down to help him when he was behaving in such a manner.
He blustered some more then all got quiet downstairs. Next thing I know, he came up, gave me a hug and said, “I figured it out.” (Maybe I’ll give him up for only part of Lent.)
Had I reacted and started yelling, lecturing, etc, we most likely would have ended up in an argument and/or power struggle. In that moment, I learned, that by sitting back and sticking to my simple limit (“I’ll help you tomorrow”), I created a scenario that pushed him to problem-solve. Since he tends to be inpatient by nature, his desire to not wait for me until the next day willed him to find the answer on his own. I’m thinking he felt empowered by being able to do so, and maybe hugging me was his way of saying, “Thanks for the opportunity to learn, Mom(?)”) 😀
Back to your experiences. What’s worked for you? What hasn’t?
Next time, I’ll take this one step further: how to start over when you’ve really lost it with your kids.
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Enjoy the week,
©Joanne C Timpano, 2017, content and images (unless otherwise specified).