Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December is about the Children

I'm taking this month to really focus on my kids.

November was more about me and my writing and extended family, what with Thanksgiving family feasting in there. I was also working on a wild idea to go back to college and had a heated discussion with hubby. I was rather self-focused.

But I don't want to focus on me right now. If I was supposed to have a job, I'd have one. One of the millions of applications would have been fruitful.

I am left thinking that my role is supposed to be Mom. Why didn't this dawn on me sooner?? It's the ONE thing I excel at! Ask my internet chat buddies, they will tell you. :)

My focus therefore, should be on my kids. Not just because it is a holiday season and we all want our kids to have the best Christmas, etc. EVER!! No, but because they are an investment for the future, just like your house, or your education.

The way they act in public is a reflection on you. It's a warped mirror, I know, "I swear I didn't teach them to fight in the cart! I promise they don't crawl under the table at home!"

My son learned two lessons yesterday.

First, he came in from school and YELLED at me. "Why is the door locked?! You know I always have to pee really bad!!" Granted, a full and painful bladder is enough to make me yell, too, but that behavior toward his mother was uncalled for.

I yelled back, "I lock the door to keep strangers out and your brother IN! I got up as quickly as I could when I heard you! Don't you yell at me! Now go pee!" I made the angry face and went nose to nose with him. He ran to pee and then started to cry. I called him over and held him.

"Why are you crying?" I wanted to hear him admit his feelings.
"I am sad."
"You yelled at m-me."
"Do you like being yelled at?"
"Neither do I."
"I'm sor-r-ry!"
"I'm sorry too."

I know I used a few more words than that, but he learned a little bit about who is the boss around here. Mom. Yelling is not polite.

Then later I hear a painful cry from the little one. It doesn't stop after 5 seconds. I have to go investigate. Previous to the howl were the sounds of arguing. This raises a red flag. There are complaints about a video game. The easiest way to deal with this is to shut off the game. I take the howling banshee to his bed. He then tells me his brother hit him on the head. Oh! So now we have to dig deeper.

Brother is brought in for interrogation. He admits to hitting Little bro on the head. Little bro gets picked up from his bed by daddy so I can deal with Big bro. Lesson number 2 of the day results in tears and banishment to his bed. 'Your Brother Is Littler Than You And Will Not Play The Video Game With 100% Accuracy. Do Not Hit Him, You Might Damage His Brain.' The thought that he might have seriously injured his brother cut him to the quick. He bawled.

This is one day after the Big Collision whence the two boys received matching cuts on their heads. Little Bro cut his right eyebrow and it swelled up, Big bro cut the left side of his forehead. They bashed heads with Little bro's glasses between them and have matching arc shaped cuts from the frame. In the tub later, Big bro hit the little one's eyebrow again, making it worse and causing Little bro to scream bloody murder.

Two days of head injuries for Little bro were enough for Mama Bear to go ballistic on Big bro, but I didn't. He was stressed enough with the head injury speech. I let him stew in bed in his own tears. It was only an hour before bedtime. He came sneaking out, eyes dry, about 20 minutes later. "How long are you gonna make me stay in there?"


So my goal now is to remember to set parameters for discipline. Even if it's 'Stay there until I come back!'
And don't think daddy didn't also give him a lecture. After placating Little bro and inspecting for damage, he also gave Big bro a talk. I know I always hated it when I had to hear the lesson twice! I hope it sinks in!

In addition to the discipline, I am also taking time to sit with my kids when they watch a movie, rather than slip off and do other things. Not every lesson is about punishment. We still love them and need to show it.

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JL Stratton said...

What a wonderful post about the lost-lost art of positively disciplining your children. You are truly a good Mom.

My daughter is going through the same process. She is young, trying to get through college, and living at home with her two children, having recently gone through a divorce.

We can't help but get involved with our Grandchildren's upbringing but we must realize that, sometimes, we DO get in the way and undermine my dauthter's efforts.

Hoping you have a wonderful month and a truly wonderful Christmas.

ElshaHawk said...

When I lived closer to my parents, I felt a lot of pressure from them to discipline my kids THEIR way. 'You'd never have gotten away with that!.. Are you gonna let him do that?!' And the reality was that the way they wanted me to discipline was not how my husband and I worked as a team to do it.

I need to add a part about playing the Wii with them too on Sunday. We all three sat and played together. These are the moments I should be having!

Thanks JL! I expect a truly wonderous holiday weekend!

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

Though I haven't frequented AIM in a very, very long time, I'd agree very much with that assertion: you're definitely the mother figure in our ficly family. ^^

Annie Cristina said...

You are a wonderful mother -- your kids are lucky! I do something similar with my students because I've learned (through trial and error) that positive reinforcement and positive discipline works much better than scolding, which can too often feel like nagging.

ElshaHawk said...

If I could bring this into my subbing, I'd be golden! It really only works for permanent teachers. As a sub, I have very little to build upon and am forced to be too easy or too hard. It's not an environment I excel in.