Sunday, January 23, 2011
Update on 30 Day Challenge: Success! & Mama's Heart
It was a good week.
Just to catch you up, my 30 day challenge has been to use a nice voice (no yelling) around the house. I also gave my kids goals to work towards, too, since it is usually their disobedience that elicits the aforementioned yells. The oldest is working on using a respectful voice (and NO eye-rolling). The youngest is working on doing things the FIRST time we ask her to do them. Two weeks ago (the first week of the challenge), neither one of my kids was very successful in meeting their goals and I yelled 3 times. So, we had a good talk about what it means to start over, to start fresh with a clean chart, to repent and then really turn our behaviors around.
I told them that I was doing away with the threats because I often caught myself saying things like:
If you do that one more time, you will get an X.
Don't you want to go to Yo-Yos for our family reward?
If you do this, you'll get a smiley-face.
I (for the most part -- sometimes I just didn't have the patience to wait) stopped saying these things because I want them to learn to show respectful and positive behavior because it is simply THE RIGHT THING TO DO. I don't want them to be so focused on the tangible reward that they fail to miss the beauty of the positive behaviors and the life that they bring to the family dynamics. But, I also wanted to communicate grace, so I told them that if they started down the wrong road, I would say, one time, I want you to think about your behavior right now. If they turned it around, high-five for them. If not, they got an X on their chart. Abby (the oldest) only had one meltdown day, but in hindsight, I was glad she did because of the conversation we had the next afternoon.
During dinner the following night, I asked her to compare the two afternoons. What was different on Thursday compared to Friday? What did she notice about the level of fun we had? What did she notice was different in our interactions with each other? Which interactions did she prefer? What was fabulous was that the dialogue centered on the relationships and not the tangible reward listed on the chart. We were able to talk about the importance of positive interactions, understanding another's point of view, and the benefits of remaining calm even when our emotions seem to want to overrun our ability to be respectful.
I realized, through processing with Abby, that I have not always done the best job of modeling the ability to keep those emotions in check. I have a hard time not taking her lashing out personally, and therefore, I usually lash out in self-defense. And I do that by yelling. By demanding respect. By enforcing my will upon her. So the sad truth is, sometimes watching her stomp around, arms crossed, face red, voice raised, is like looking in the mirror.
It's amazing how introspective I can be just by asking my kids to be a little introspective, too. Which, no matter how painful it might be now, ends up being so fruitful in the end. Kinda feels like pruning, yet again.
I'm linking up with Erin at Mama's Heart -- a brand new meme about motherhood...just anything that is on a mama's heart.