Friday, September 10, 2010

Family Friday - Discipline - For Myself?

It's been a difficult two weeks. I never anticipated the struggle that we would have with Hannah starting Kindergarten. She's always been an independent and well-behaved kid and I was sure she'd move into the change seamlessly. Although, things weren't as bad as they could have been, I simply wasn't prepared.

The transition into Kindergarten has meant adapting to very long days, earlier bedtimes, and frustrations and anxieties surrounding both of those things. Simply put - she was tired and she missed her parents.

I put funny notes in her lunch box and a picture of the family in her folder - but still I was noticing a pattern. Every morning, Hannah would throw a tantrum about something - a two-year-old tantrum. It instantly sent me into anger-mode. I just don't tolerate her fits over her shoes, or the back of her shirt feeling "weird" when she sits in her car seat. Everything was a battle. Then I'd yell at her and she would cry and the morning would be a disaster. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SWEET LITTLE GIRL??!!??!?

Then came homework time. We just...clash. I'm guessing it's because we're so much alike. Matt told me to let him manage homework time, but I refuse to dump it in his lap because I can't get control of my relationship and communication with my daughter. I went to school to become a teacher for goodness sake!

After days of fighting over scissors techniques - I feel like I'm starting to make progress.

Notice I said "I" and not "she."

I believe that there are times when we, as parents need to discipline ourselves. This has been extremely difficult for me - and all I can say is that I'm making progress.

In the mornings, I've come to ANTICIPATE Hannah picking a fight about SOMETHING right before it's time to leave for school. Instead of getting angry - I remind myself that this is coming from anxiety. I purposely change the tone of my voice to a kind one and give her a hug. It's amazing how much smoother the morning goes when I'm prepared for her attitude. It's quickly dissipated and things are fine.

During homework time (which is right after school) I have learned to WALK AWAY unless she needs my help. She doesn't do well when I hover. When she becomes angry - I CONSCIOUSLY LOWER MY VOICE and ask her if she's frustrated and if I can help. Then I'll check her work at the end. 

Asking "ARE YOU FEELING FRUSTRATED?" seems to immediately validate her feelings and relax her.

Lastly, I HAVE TO REMIND MYSELF to COMPLIMENT GOOD WORK AND BEHAVIOR. I think I've heard that for every criticism, there should be 7 praises. I need to do better with that.

After a day or two, I feel like we're finally making progress and our days aren't ending with both of us in tears!

So - it's a little twist today. Think about disciplining YOURSELF to get better behavior from your kids. Sometimes I think we can encourage bad behavior by how we respond!

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