Reflection: Re-writing my parenting script

This post had me in tears:

The Important Thing About Yelling

The writer’s journey struck a chord in me.  I found her words extremely powerful.  They kicked up my need for reflection on the stage of parenting we are in.

I got really frustrated with my kids the other day.  Well, heck, I’ll be real.   I get frustrated with my kids on a lot of days.  On occasional days, I am filled with rage.  I literally feel so hot that I tell them I need a break and proceed to the pantry, sliding the door closed behind me.   I’m not kidding.   I usually forget to turn the light on and for some reason it helps to count to ten in the dark and get it together.  The trials of this stage of parenting must be a natural desensitization program for later years.  A built in opportunity to become a better communicator  for when my girls are teens and have roaring PMS.   God help my husband if we all get our periods at the same time.

At the end of the day, when everyone is quietly tucked into bed, I am filled with immense shame.  I am mortified  that I lost my cool and spoke extremely sternly to my 3 year old,  who was in tears because she couldn’t tell me the “right” way to put her socks on.  We were already late to get out the door due to other 3 year old clothing demands and  I still had to get the daredevil little sister dressed.  Who, by the way, taught herself how to climb up onto big sister’s raised twin bed over the course of the poorly managed sock situation.  It’s the top of a bunk bed with a railing so she literally did a chin up and toe claw to get up there.  This kid amazes me and  scares the bejeezes out of me.  What’s the big deal that we are another 20 minutes late?! Really.  I can’t believe that I lost it instead of recognizing the opportunity for modelling understanding and empathy.  These are two traits that do not come easily to me, just ask my husband.

I know I can’t nail it all of the time.  I’m trying so hard to re-write my natural consequence/punishment/just do it tendencies.  I hear myself veiling my threat in an almost kind way….  “I’m going to count to 3 and then I will help you do it”.  Also known as “get your arse over here and get the job done or I will physically haul you”.  Or my natural default to punishment. “Get in the car by the time I count to 3 or there is no Curious George today”.   These are not the worst strategies in the world and in our house, they have their place BUT, they cannot be my default.  They need to be the last resort.  The thing is, I KNOW the postive discipline techniques and have used them at work many times.  It is so much harder to implement them with my own kids.  I loose the inner battle too easily and bypass the positive techniques much too easily in the heat of the moment.

Anyway, long story short:  I’m a work in progress.  I know I always will be.  I’m impatient and frustrated with myself.  As a very good friend often reminds me, I also need to work on not being so hard on myself.

Some books on my nightstand that help remind me to try again tomorrow:

Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp

Positive Discipline for Preschoolers by Jane Nelsen et al

Just Because It’s Not Wrong Doesn’t Make It Right by Barbara Coloroso

Mind in the Making by Ellen Galinsky

El's "mad" face... wonder if this is what I look like?!

“Mad” face… wonder if this is what I look like?!

I'm sure this daredevil will give me even more of a run for my money in the patience department!

I’m sure this daredevil will give me even more of a run for my money in the patience department!

I’ve also tried a parenting e-course.  It was such a convenient way to get the information at this stage in my life.  I could listen to it when the kids were napping and still get something done at the same time.  Laundry was folded, dinner prepped and I was armed with something new or reminded of an old tool that I could use.    Not Just Cute by Amanda Morgan.  An e-course on Positive Parenting.   I highly recommend it.

I recently tried out Parenting Power, a parenting resource based in Calgary.  They have modules available for purchase online.  I tried out the “Whining and Complaining” Module.  Although convenient to listen to like a podcast, I didn’t find any of the information to be new or different from what I was already doing.

For Calgarians, owner of Brilliant Beginnings and friend, Melanie Olorenshaw, offers a variety of parenting seminars.  Check it out.

Alberta Health Services Childbirth and Parenting Education also offers seminars geared towards the toddler stage and positive discipline.

Any other resources you can suggest?

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6 thoughts on “Reflection: Re-writing my parenting script

  1. j2gunn says:

    I think discipline could be a great topic for your next writing series. My son Burke (10months old corrected) has never been told “no”. I find myself just now saying the word and he has no clue what I’m talking about – then he smiles when I say it and I melt. Could use some help setting boundaries and enforcing them with consistency 🙂

    • melissabw says:

      What is Burke climbing on that you have to say no to? 😉
      Not sure that this is my domain but maybe I’ll troll some expert buddies and see if I can convince them to do a guest post!

  2. Chelsey says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! I will definetly check out some of your resources as Hudson and I approach some more challenging times ahead! I also started reading “Raising an emotionally intelligent child” its a great book! I have found that it has also helped me in dealing with my emotions as well as his.

  3. morgan says:

    I love “ain’t misbehavin” by Alyson Schafer. But I so hear you….no matter how much I read and believe in positive parenting, I am not perfect and I have bad days where I get so mad and resort to punishment and all the stuff I don’t want to do! I try and apologize and remind myself that nobody is perfect and it’s a good thing for our kids to see us make mistakes and then make it right.

    Loving your blog!!

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