Becoming an adult has been a rude awakening. I’m sure my parents could see I wasn’t necessarily ready, but what more can you do at that point. Every generation says they’ll do better than the last and in some cases they do, but most often, when you focus on one thing you inadvertently give up another you had no idea were connected. The point being, you can’t do it all right all the time. It isn’t possible, so you have to pick and choose priorities. With that having been said, I was an extremely emotional child. I still am except I look like an adult. Actually, I’ve come a long, long way on becoming less emotional which I feel is good, but still I struggle. My parents didn’t teach to be emotional, and my other three sisters weren’t nearly as emotional as I was, so I don’t blame anyone. It just so happens, though, it is important for me to teach my children that having feelings of strong emotion are wonderful, but acting on your emotions will not solve problems. It is likely crying, fuming from anger, and acting our of control will make all situations worse.
Our children are currently 4, 3, 2, and 10 months. They are all still babies in this world. While I love that they’re all so close together (I’d do it again in a heartbeat), problems arise all day about sharing, taking, wrecking, “she’s mean”, “he’s hurting me”, etc. I couldn’t begin tell you how many times I’ve had to listen to three of them crying at once. It wears on me.
I’ve conditioned myself to take it with grace. My greatest momma power is smiling through the chaos. I can power through the craziness happening to get the chore complete without losing my cool. Think grocery shopping, church, making dinner, potty training, and all those other glorious mom tasks the kids are around for everyday. I’ve been pretty happy with myself for having the energy to keep my cool. I’m modeling good behavior in those instances. The problems are still there, though. The kids are still crying and fighting. I still lose my cool in other situations. In fact, I show them a ton more bad habits.
We’ve since began teaching the children a simple phrase, “___________ doesn’t solve the problem.” Insert words such as crying, whining, getting mad, storming off, yelling, saying mean words, etc. We just started this within the last few weeks, and I’ll credit my husband for saying these words to our four year old daughter first. Our intentions are to teach our children to express themselves appropriately. Like I mentioned before, having the feelings is perfectly fine, but what can be done to make the situation better? This is incredibly hard for someone like me. I’ll be very forthcoming by admitting, I don’t possess many of these skills, or at least I don’t use them in good practice.
Deep down, I know I can keep my cool when I’m upset. If I dig a little deeper, I can find the appropriate words to say how I’m feeling, but then add why I’m feeling that way. My opinion is this process is easier for a child, because adults seem complex. They’re not really, though. From a child’s perspective this would look something like, “I’m angry with you because you took the toy from me. I want to play with it.” or “My feelings are hurt when you say you don’t want to sit by me. I like to sit by you, and I don’t like to be lonely.” As adults, that seems childish to say things that way, right? It isn’t.
Usually, we’ve already accomplished dealing with small scenarios like the ones above. Our problems now, as adults, are sometimes on a larger scale. The same process can indeed be helpful. I’m really going to show you readers my vulnerability here. In sharing with you what makes me upset to the point of tears and tantrum like anger you will have the ability to judge me. You may see me and make fun of me. I can’t give you all of me and ask for your support with this blog without telling you my flaws.
I’m itching for a different lifestyle right now. I would much rather be homeschooling my children, even though I love, love, love their school. My duty as a mother can teach more than they can learn at school during this particular time of their lives. I would also prefer to be expecting right now. I’d welcome any child into our home at any moment of my life. It is through discernment I have these strong desires. I don’t expect you to believe what I believe, readers. I am unique and my problems are unique to me, as are yours. I am so unique it seems, even my husband can’t wrap his head around the plans I feel are best for our family. This obviously causes problems, and arguments of strong feelings from both parties. I’m typically left in tears. My tears go from being sad tears, to tears of anger, and back to disappointment.
It is a feeling I witness every single day. Each morning I chart my fertility and know I am doing so, so my husband knows how to avoid the outcome of pregnancy. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while hustling through the house making breakfast, packing lunches, reminding children to get dress, eat up, brush teeth, pack their bags, etc. I am reminded. It isn’t that I keep bring it up, life is bringing it up for me. So every so often I talk to my husband about my feelings. Well, it starts out as talking anyway.
My purpose in sharing my flaws is to share with you how the same simple process can help us as adults. “I am so confused when you tell me you don’t want anymore children, because I don’t know how I can stop wanting God’s blessings.” “When you tell me you don’t agree with homeschooling, it makes me feel you think I’m not capable.” “Each time I tell you about my dreams for us, and you tell me it won’t happen, I feel as if you have all the power. I don’t like feeling powerless.” “Hearing ‘no’ causes me to feel like a child asking permission instead of working in a partnership… a marriage.”
It isn’t really hard to say what you need to say. Being direct in your words takes practice because you have to be calm so you can think clearly. Crying doesn’t solve the problems. If we aren’t able to do this as adults, it will be very difficult to show our children how to cope with their own feelings. It can feel like a disability not knowing how to express yourself, but it doesn’t mean you can’t cope. Children with ADHD have to learn to cope with their impulses, or else they’ll be taking medicine until they’re old and gray. Teach yourself so you can teach your child.
When teaching your children how to handle tough situations it is okay to let them attempt some techniques on their own. Kids can surprise you by doing things differently. I am fortunate enough to have a play room which connects to the kitchen and the living room. I can hear and sometimes see the problems unfolding. I will allow them to work on some things themselves, and sometimes I’ll intervene. Here’s how: I get down on their level (eye to eye), and tell them “It is okay to be sad about this, but it is not okay to cry so loudly (or push someone, take this from his hand, etc.). When a person shoves you, you can say ‘Stop that. That hurts. I don’t like it.'” and I direct my child to put their hand out in front of them to block the person offending them. I don’t want my child to say a specific script, I want them to have the tools to tell someone when they need to stop.
What items are pressing in your life that often lead you to an emotional outburst?
How can you show your child(ren) to handle life’s difficulties?