By making children feel bad doesn’t make them behave better. A lovely example of this presented itself today.
I opened a whole load of Amazon packages for many birthdays coming up soon.
Mr 4 asked who they were for and we talked through which presents were for which friends.
Next thing..from Mr 4…”you didn’t get me anything” and promptly smacked me on the bum. Quite hard!
Oh my goodness me! If I hadn’t recently made an actual verbal, out loud pact to myself about an hour before, that I would stay calm and offer him connection over yelling i would have yelled…!! We’ve had a lot of hitting and a lot of my reacting over the weekend…and I just knew it wasn’t helping any one.
So I stayed calm, and actually didn’t say anything. He called me some names, wanting a reaction. (Breathe mama breathe… dig deep). I walked upstairs with the gifts and Mr 4 came running up after me. I expected another hit and was quickly working out what to say to set the boundary.
He said…”mammy will you sit down I want to talk to you”
“I wanted you to buy me a present”.
I acknowledged his feelings, really fighting with myself not to throw in a lecture. I said to him…”you were upset I didn’t buy you a present…..I didn’t like when you hit me and called me those names. It made me feel sad”.
“mammy, you go downstairs, I’m going to give you a present”
So with a few requests from dad for sellotape and scissors, he gave me a present….
The little note read “I luf yu”.
I gave him the opportunity to right his wrong. I didn’t yell or judge. I didn’t listen to the voice in my mind saying…”I can’t believe he’s being such a spoilt brat!”. I listened, acknowledged his feelings and shared my own.
No making him feel bad to make him behave in a certain way. Not taking it personally, remembering he is 4. But in that split second before I did react, I remembered that how I behave is the model he will see to manage his own behaviours; and so my job is to control my behaviour not his.
After a whole weekend of bickering and shouting and saying sorry and then doing it all again…we finally connected.