It’s a given, your children are going to test your patience, push the boundaries. They are going to misbehave. Mine certainly do.
The hardest for me is when I am sleep deprived (and as we mamas know, that is almost always!). I would wake up crabby and tend to snap at my kids if I was tired. I didn’t like who I was when I was this way and it was not good for my children. I knew I needed to do something to change this. Then the idea came to me: I needed to train my kids to start their day. Only then, could I wake up refreshed with a smile and a reserve tank full of patience. Only then could I be the mother I intended to be.
Flash forward, a year later: My friend, a Waldorf schoolteacher with young kids of her own, came to visit from the mainland. She asked me, “When do your kids wake up in the morning?” (My boys are three and four years old). She was shocked when I told her my kids wake up around six-thirty, but I get up around seven-thirty. She was even more shocked to learn that they get their own breakfast and wash their dishes all on their own while I sleep in! She asked me how I get them to do this? My answer: rhythm, repetition and training. (I am not suggesting that you can leave any child unattended. You have to gauge whether your child is emotionally and physically ready… that is after you spend the time to properly train him or her so that they feel safe, confident, happy and are competent in what they are doing.)
How do you train a child?
My belief is children come into this world with their own innate wisdom and they are capable of more than we usually think. But at the same time, as they assimilate into this world, they need to learn the rules according to societal culture as well as your family’s rules and values. However, we can’t just expect them to know how to behave. We need to tell them what we expect from them, and train them to do it to our level of expectation. Fact of Life: You get what you expect! So how can we best get them to voluntarily heed our guidance?
I have the fortunate advantage of remembering what it is like to be a child since I can clearly recall life as early as the crawling stage. From this perspective, I can tell you what helps children to behave.
For the rest of this story, go to my blog sensiblegirlfriend.com.
Image Credit: Paul Bacon Jr