Yesterday my 7 year old, P, wanted help with her homework. No problem. Scratch that, problem. She wanted help right NOW and I still had two more articles to finish for my freelance client. So as she is throwing her little, Mommy you're not helping me!, fit I am trying to remain calm and work at the same time. After the inevitable flopping on the floor and claiming that I hate her because I won't stop what I'm doing to help her, I sent her to her room. What followed was of course the stomping down the hall and screaming, See I knew you hated me.
While her behavior was completely unacceptable and she knew that I began to wonder what it looks like from her prospective. Now keep in mind that I try my best NOT to be working when the kids get home, but sick puppy and Mt. Everest of laundry because of sick puppy has put me a bit behind. However, I started thinking about ways that I could have handled a bit better or perhaps prepared to meet her needs and still accomplished my deadline.
How does this equate to being a builder or a destroyer? Do you spend more time saying positive things or negative things to your kids? Think about it. How often do you praise your kids for simply doing their chores without being told? I know that I always tried to do what I was told when I was little and then was crushed when my younger brother was praised for his one day of not getting in trouble.
Building kids up is a 24/7 job. Start with your morning routine. Do you wake them up with a cheerful attitude or are you a sourpuss because you overslept? Take it from someone who is definitely not a morning person and has done both of these things, the kids respond much better to cheerful. I tell my kids to have an awesome day and I love them before they leave everyday. When I first started this they gave me funny looks. You know, the Mom you've lost it, sort of look. But now they just say love you and head off to school.
Do you make their homecoming in the afternoon a pleasant one or are you rushed like I was yesterday? If you are preoccupied EVERY day when the kids get home they may get the idea that they aren't really important to you or that they're a nuisance. I've noticed that with all of my kids in school for the first time this year how truly little time I spend with my kids during the week. So now the first hour after school is Spongebob and snack time with Mommy. Regardless of what time of the day you do it, take at least 10 minutes to speak to each of your kids everyday.
If you are just existing from day-to-day take a moment to look at how you are acting and reacting to your kids. Where is your focus when you're with them? Are you worried about dinner being finished or getting a million other things accomplished instead of listening to your little ones newest adventure? Or maybe your pre-teen has something to say and you're only half listening. It's time to organize your day so that you can focus on them when they need it and create special time so they know they will have time to talk to you everyday.
Oh and the girl drama? She threw herself on her bed, cried until she was tired then proceeded to demand I help right NOW. Needless to say it took quite a while to finish her homework. Sigh. But better 7 year old drama than teen drama. That's a whole other subject.