Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday: The Negotiator.

Often time at my house I feel like everything is a CONSTANT negotiation. (I can hear my mother saying "I told you so" or "wait 'til their teenagers" as I type). Except this is a different type of negotiation because there's no real discussion quite yet.
It's me giving Cooper his options, Cooper deciding his behavior, and me then deciding what to do about it.   Depending on the amount of sleep (and/or patience I have at my disposal at that moment) I can easily find myself getting frustrated.

How many times can I tell him not to open that drawer? When will he learn not to sneak out the doggy door? Why does he throw a fit every time I tell him 'no?'

"Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them.” -Bill Ayers

I feel like all too often I say "Look what you did" or "Mommy asked you not to do that." As soon as I say it, I realize that all that happening in that moment is he feels bad about himself and knows I am disappointed. He didn't learn anything. I wasted a teachable moment.

I read this blog yesterday from Hands Free Mama. You may have seen it shared on Facebook or Pinterest, but there was one sentence that caught my attention:

"She (daughter) could not make a mess without me shaking my head in disappointment. She could not spill, stain, break or misplace without being made to feel like she'd made the worst mistake in the world." -Rachel Stafford

Oh my gosh is that me? Am I just going to get worse as he gets older?

“Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first we have to make them feel worse? Think of the last time you felt humiliated or treated unfairly. Did you feel like cooperating or doing better?" -Jane Nelsen

Negotiation is different with a toddler. It's a lot about distraction and re-direction of attention, but I never want to make him feel bad about himself. However I do have to discipline and teach limits.

So my take-away from that article and little self introspection?
As he gets older, I'll have to differentiate mistakes from acting out- and have grace.

But for now: Love first. Make a big deal when he listens and obeys. And when he does have to spend a little time in time out, remind him that I love him, but not what he did.

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