Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fail safe?

I'm beginning to see that part of my problems with getting my kids to listen to me is my fault.

Shocking, I know.

Here's the thing. I set them up to fail. It's taken me a while to realize this. Hey, I'm a slow learner.

Perhaps you would like an explanation.

Let me lead with an example. Just before Easter I bought two cute little bunny figurines. They're shelf-sitters, if you know what those are. They're breakable, so where did I put them? On a low shelf, inches above where the kids are told to put some of their toys away. So nearly every day when the kids got something out to play with that was located in the corner by the bunnies I'd say careful of the bunnies!

Is it any wonder that one of them got broken? Honestly the bookcase that I put them on is probably 6 feet high and has multiple shelves higher up that I should have put them on.

See what I mean? Setting them up for failure.

Sometimes I take my kids to stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby. These stores are not fun for kids. Well, what store is fun? Sometimes Target could be fun if I'd let them explore the toy aisles. But I seldom do. We're there for what I want to get; what I want to look at; and what they want is immaterial. Is it any wonder that they whine and try to sing and dance and act goofy (if they're not screaming) to entertain themselves?

I think I forget that they are real people, not just extensions of me. Does that make any sense? I forget that, while M is only (almost) six, she is her own person, with valid thoughts and every reason to expect that her desires and needs can be voiced and will be heard. And K, at nearly four is testing out his independence daily now. What sounds like back-talk is him asserting his identity; apart from me.

How to fix this?

I guess if I want my kids to listen to me, I should listen to them. They're allowed to be angry with me for not being able to get them what they want right away. They're even allowed to tell me they're angry with me. I get that they will not always have the words or the emotional maturity to tell me this in terms that I like. Hell, I have issues with that myself sometimes.

I can tell I need to be more receptive to their words if I want the not-so-nice actions to cease.

And stop setting them up to fail. I bet there would be less yelling around here.

4 people like me!:

chelle said...

I think you totally on the right path. It is hard to remember that they have a mind of their own, all chalked up with feelings and emotions. But your right, when we stop to listen to their tiny little selves, they in return listen better (sometimes!)

Hip Mom's Guide said...

Ayyy, even I whine when I have to go to Hobby Lobby:) Hang in there!

Sandy said...

I struggle with this each and every day, but I can honestly say that as they grow, I get better and better at setting them up for success...of course, I now feel that I've totally traumatized my kids for the first 4 years of their life, but hey! That's what Mommy guilt is for, right?

Damselfly said...

Wow, I was thinking something similar yesterday, about how my actions and attitudes could be leading to opportunities for Fly to do something naughty, which then only makes me angry -- so maybe I partly brought it on myself.

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