Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

June 28, 2011

lessons in teaching

The other day I was at a birthday party for a sweet little two year old boy, it was a BBQ and there were a lot of kids running around ranging from 20 months to four years old. As the food was being put out the mothers all gathered around the table to get food for the little ones and we got to talking. The conversation quickly became about the whiny stage that our kids seem to be in at the moment. It started with myself and another Mom talking about Joshua's recent moodiness, as we talked other mothers quickly added that their kids were also whiny. I had thought I was alone, I had thought I was doing something wrong, or that I for some reason Josh was just one of those kids. As I listened I learned that I am not alone, that it would seem all kids go through this stage, and worse, that it comes back again at different ages. Not a great discovery I have to say, but it left me relieved as well because it meant I wasn't doing anything wrong per say, although I can probably learn to handle it better than I have been. It certainly helps to know it's not just my kid.

Yesterday we had our air conditioner fixed, and an amazing thing happened. Josh didn't whine all afternoon, when bedtime came he went down without issue, and he slept until eight AM. This morning, no whining. I am left to wonder how much of his whining stemmed from heat and lack of sleep. I have also discovered that I feel less grumpy, another discovery that has left me wondering why I thought Josh shouldn't be grumpy from the heat when I myself feel the heat and find myself with less patience and a less than stellar attitude. Why should my child be better behaved than his own mother? Am I not the one who teaches him how to behave?

Then this morning I read an article about yelling at our kids, about the right or wrong of it and I was convicted. I lose patience and I yell, and what does that say to them? How do I stop and still get the point across that what they are doing is dangerous? How do I get them to listen? The reality is that the yelling, if done when they need it (they are running towards the road etc.) can be necessary, but if I am just impatient and grumpy? How is that teaching them anything? Everyday I sit here and realize that I have so much to learn to be a good Mom, today it hits particularly close to home. How can I expect better of my kids if I don't teach them the proper way to behave? If I yell to get what I want, how can I expect them not to?

I am sometimes in awe and fear of the responsibility of raising these little men into larger men who can function well in society. I can't expect perfection, but I do expect to learn from my mistakes and get better every day. So today, the lessons I have learned from...

I am not alone, kids have stages.
I need to teach them through actions how to behave
I need to get a grip on my own patience and grumpiness.

*insert big sigh here* I also need to apologize to my kids, and teach them that sometimes Mummy is wrong but she always loves them and will try every day to be better than the day before...