Let me start by apologizing to just about everyone T & I passed on the way to school. Sorry for the crying 3-year-old. More importantly, sorry for the pouty-mad mama leading him reluctantly down the street.
We’re working on language in our house lately. T is figuring out rhyming & jokes. I’m learning tolerance for the sometimes mean-sounding things that come out of T’s mouth.
I’m definitely learning. And it’s been a huge challenge to my philosophy of gentle discipline & natural consequences. I’d like to say I handle it with aplomb when he tells me he doesn’t like me or that he wants to crush my head.
My knee-jerk reaction is that such language (especially the latter) is simply not tolerated in our household. But I’m not a good authoritarian, even when I inadvertently try to be.
Natural consequences have had some effect (i.e. his cousin doesn’t want to play with him when he says nasty things) but somehow he feels at liberty to still try out these linguistic tricks on me.
I’m working on logical consequences, but I often get flustered & upset, so it ends up feeling like punishment & love withdrawal. I’m working on it.
I was working on it when we were walking to school. And I was most decidedly not succeeding.
Hence the wailing 3-year-old scrambling down the street after his cross-armed mama.
He was rightfully mad at me the rest of the day. He even tried to lock me out of he house that evening. But by then I’d realized what went wrong (I think…) & was able to comport myself more like a grown-up than a preschooler.
And this feeds into my intention to be open to more joy this year.
We can choose our reactions. If I clam up & get angry when he experiments with less-than-desirable language, I’m also shutting down joy.
I’m still going to work with logical consequences, but if I’m friendly & calm, we can get back to joy more quickly.
The same goes for work & life challenges, as I’ve also been learning this week. I choose stress & fear as reactions & when I do I risk shutting out the love & joy I am fortunate to have around me.
It’s work, don’t get me wrong. These negative reactions are what come first for me & (for now, at least) this feels like an unnatural process.
So as I work through this, I’d love to hear from readers — how to you shift your reactions to your child, your work, etc.?
Here’s to a more joy-filled weekend!