I’m hungry for information. I don’t know if it’s my background in journalism, or just part of my personality. But give me a problem and I will do my best to research every possible solution.
It’s particularly the case when it comes to my kids. I read books, I read blogs and parenting sites, all in the hope of finding new inspiration for whatever demanding phase we happen to be going through.
Right now that phase is the awesome one of sibling rivalry. Friends of older children have warned me I just have to suck it up and get used to the fact that my two boys will fight…a lot. But I don’t want to accept that.
I’m all for a bit of rough play, afterall I was known to get my brother in the odd headlock, and he was the disher out of many a blood nose, all harmless normal fun.
But at the moment I feel I am breaking up fights 99% of the day, and that doesn’t feel right.
It all came to a head the other day. Gus had been pushing/knocking over and tripping up Eddie all day. From 6am till 4pm. I’d lost my voice from screaming at him, when the straw broke the camel’s back and I found myself down on the ground, in his face, pushing him back.
What looked back at me were two very frightened eyes.
I stopped immediately and ran out of the room in tears. What had I become? Some monster my children feared? A screaming banshee? Someone I didn’t want to be.
That night I googled “my 3 year old won’t stop hitting my 17 month old” and this article popped up which in a nutshell told me I was doing it all wrong.
My big boy was rightly feeling pretty ripped off that his now very mobile brother was up and about and stealing every toy and invading every space…which had prevoiously been all of his.
Of course he was lashing out.
To make matters worse my screaming was just adding to the situation. It was giving him a reaction, albeit a negative one, and making him feel like an outsider.
So what was the advice? Talk to him. Tell him how his behaviour was making me feel. And that’s just what I did. For the next few days, every time Gus took a swing at Eddie, I knelt down and told him it made me sad when he did that, and I wanted to be happy, so could he please stop so that I could be happy.
His answer? ” Yes, mumma.”
The problem is by no means fixed, but I have to admit, it is improving.
I understand that this is part of childhood and learning to be around others, but what I didn’t like was how it was making me feel. I don’t want to scream all day. I don’t want to be ‘that’ mother. There are other options.
I’m sure there will still be days when I lose my cool, no one is a saint, but on the whole I’m going to stick with this approach as much as possible.
My vocal cords…and my children…will no doubt appreciate it!
What was your most recent ‘aha’ moment as a parent?