Parenting 101

Yesterday was one of those days that started out with a broken glass shattered across my kitchen floor and ended with kids antagonizing one another and generally acting like brats.  Yeah.  Fun.  Finally, at 7:15, I’d had enough and declared it bedtime.  I might have lost my temper just a little bit.

It was like I’d suggested we cancel a Disney vacation with the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that followed my proclamation.  Both girls collapsed into bawling heaps on the floor, just further evidence of the necessity of the early bedtime.

I calmly herded them upstairs and started the PJ/teeth/potty routine.  Hub heard the wailing and came in from outdoors and took over with the 2-year-old.  I got C into bed and then lay down with her as is our habit.  We chatted briefly and then I kissed her and got up to leave.  As I turned away, I heard a plaintive, “Mama?”

“What, babe?”

“But what did I do?”

I stopped in my tracks and did a mental head slap.  The child didn’t even know what she’d done wrong.  No wonder she was so upset.

As I went back and explained gently that it was her attitude and tone of voice and the way she was speaking to her sister, I wondered how many times I get upset with her and she doesn’t even know why.  Isn’t that like Parenting 101?

With my first-born, I read the parenting books and very intentionally laid out my expectations and the consequences of good and bad behavior and did my best to follow through with firmness and love.  With my second and third, I fear that I have regressed into knee-jerk parenting — reacting rather than responding.  It’s so much easier to give into my short tempter and impatience when what the kids need is a loving, caring, thoughtful parent.

Last night was a wake-up call.  I only have one chance.  I don’t want to mess it up.  I can’t afford the therapy.

Join The Conversation

26 Responses

  1. Good post – thanks for making me feel like a bad Mom. I feel like I spend my mornings yelling at the kids because when I just ask them to do what they need to do they don’t. I was going to post about this tonight – funny timing. I said a prayer this morning asking for help and more patience – it didn’t come yet, so I’ll keep praying!

  2. T – Yeah, I think so. Also, it’s the sibling interactions that seem to get the best of me. I don’t think I realized that until just right now.

    Kim – you’re not a bad mom. If you are, we all are.

  3. Hey isn’t parenting just the toughest thing out there??? Man I can’t believe it…its nice to know that I am not the only one who makes mistakes and is always trying to learn.
    My son had a melt down last night …. I really think it is just trying to get back into the swing of things…or I hope…
    Good Luck…You are doing a great job

  4. Yeah, that was me last night, too. Except Andy’s started back at the restaurant and its inevitable late hours, so it’s only the beginning of evenings home by myself. I may have to request the sending in of reinforcements.

  5. Been there. Done that.

    Sometimes the knee jerks, and it occurs to me that I am just being a jerk, so I’m able to take it back quickly. Not without damage being done, but at least before they can wonder what they did.

  6. Ahh, that broke my heart when I read what C said. It seems I do that more and more lately myself. Parenting is hard but I think we are all trying our best.
    I use to lay down with Kiki and then I would end up falling asleep myself.

  7. That doesn’t happen too often to me but I only have one child. It is much easier to remember to explain why they are in trouble if you can take the time, face-to-face with one child without interruption and trying to wrangle in a sibling.

  8. I had a night like that yesterday too. The amount of wailing and crying… I was ready to walk out the door as soon as the hubs walked in. I, too, am not the most patient person in the world and it takes every.ounce. of my being to stop, step back, re-assess, and proceed in a calm manner. Some days I succeed, some days I don’t.

  9. Thanks for your honesty & for pointing out that we may not be communicating clearly enough so that the children really know what it is that they did wrong. I especially love the philosophy of remembering to ‘respond’ vs. ‘react’.

  10. We are working on that around here too. We have done too much parenting from the couch lately. You know, where you hear the kids fighting and just yell at them to stop, rather than getting up and getting involved. In fact, the yelling in our house is to the point that I’m seriously considering implementing a policy that punishes all of us. Something like putting money in a jar every time someone (adult or child) yells at someone else. Something has got to change anyway. Good luck with your efforts.

  11. We all have days like that. My mother in law gave me a trick so they stop yelling at each other. She used it on my husband and his siblings. When they get in trouble for yelling and fighting, make them sit on the floor, facing each other. Knees touching. And then make them hold hands for a few minutes. So far, it has always stopped the yelling and the next thing I know they are laughing together.

  12. My children can be the best of friends or the worst of enemies! Seems as if they have been at each other for days now. Sometimes I just want to tie them together and make them love one another.

    This parenting thing is hard!!!

  13. I have definitely been there! I do try to go back and let my kids know that I was just stressed out and that I needed a break. And I’ve also put myself in a time out a few times! You’re doing a fine job.

  14. I have definitely been there! I do try to go back and let my kids know that I was just stressed out and that I needed a break. And I’ve also put myself in a time out a few times! You’re doing a fine job.

  15. I have definitely been there! I do try to go back and let my kids know that I was just stressed out and that I needed a break. And I’ve also put myself in a time out a few times! You’re doing a fine job.

  16. I clicked on this post because I have a post on my blog called “Motherhood 101” and the similarity interested me. My blog entry was written when my son (now in his first year at West Point) was a senior in high school…so…the learning never ends…ha.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close this search box.