Thursday, April 26, 2012
Doing What Doesn't Work
I know exactly what works when it comes to disciplining my children. Being down at their level, placing my hand on their tiny shoulder, looking them in the eye and using a firm, quiet voice. They love it. It makes them feel safe, they understand my words, my tone and my body language. They know what will happen if they still choose to be disobedient. A consequence will follow - whether it be time out, the removal of a toy or a sticker off the chart. It works almost every time.
When my patience is running out, I make sure I communicate that to them clearly by saying something along the lines of 'mummy is finding this very frustrating, you need to listen to my words or i'm going to have to use my cranky voice*'.
I know it works, and when i'm at my very best- I use the technique consistently. But I'm human so there are many variables. A poor nights sleep, a broken down crappy old car that needs repairing, and a house that is seldom clean for longer than thirty seconds made me irritable today.
When Lady Baby fell asleep in the car after a beautiful morning at the park, I was relieved. I then zoomed a few more laps around the block in the hope that Zeph might follow suit. He did not, instead he woke the sleeping tot a mere ten minutes into her slumber. That was all the sleep enjoyed by anyone here at The Beetle Shack today, 10 minutes. It wasn't nearly enough when spread between the 3 of us.
Naturally, I forgot to act like an adult and interacted with my children as if I were one of them (are you ever aware of doing this, it's so ridiculous). I whined and snapped when they did, thus perpetuating the vicious cycle.
It wasn't happy.
After finally getting Lady Baby to sleep, I ordered the Young Man 'to the bath' with outstretched arm and pointed finger. Moments later I followed him in there to see a fully clothed young man, in the bath.
Completely defeated, I joined him. And there we sat together, he and I. Soaking wet amongst the bath toys slowing undoing the damage of an unpleasant afternoon. We talked about sharks, dolphins and whales with gills and when it was time to get out he tantrumed again but the cycle did not continue.
*My tender hearted Young Man hates the cranky voice. He recoils and cries almost every time he hears it- once he has composed himself and mustered the courage he responds with 'mum, don't speak like dat to me- I don't wike it when you say dat'