Can we actually be the cause of how chaotic our children are?
My peaceful day with the boys, but not one minute to myself.
Here we are, two boys and their mother. Hanging out in a barely furnished new home, trying to live as “normal” of a life as possible during a time of quarantine. As each day begins, it also ends; one screaming and the other whining. The constant fighting and bickering are more than anyone human can handle. Only several minutes in between are filled with their laughter that quickly turns into a tug of war match over some ridiculous toy that has laid in the same spot and they haven’t touched in weeks. Oh, and watch those moments of silence; although the silence is amazing, and it allows for the parents to do as they need; return phone calls or emails, etc., it also means they are up to something. I have been burned several times this week during these silent moments!
I write to all parents wondering if you find these items to be true? Am I the only one who is losing the battle against their children in their own homes? In an effort to change a chaotic day into a peaceful one, I put down my phone, I didn’t turn on the laptop, and I made sure to be more focused on the boys. I made sure to let them see that I was more focused on them and allowed them the time to go off and play on their own if they wanted. But what happened made me realize ‘maybe I hadn’t given them as much attention as I thought I had been’?
So I played Legos with them, and I mean really played, I sat there for over an hour constructing my own little Lego garden while they put together their weapons or vehicles. I found pieces that they needed when they couldn’t. I showed them how to pull the pieces apart without giving up. And most of all I showed interest. I know this probably sounds silly to some people reading this, but think about it, when I normally play Legos, I throw together some blocks, and when I realize they are off and running I walk away and try to finish up something else I had on my to-do list.
I also let them show me how they do things that I tell them not to do. I may have ground my teeth the whole time, but I allowed them to show me things that made them proud of themselves. I made sure to remind them how unsafe or how what they were doing shouldn’t be done but I at least gave them that moment of gratitude that they had been looking for.
We even baked and I read the same Dr. Seuss book three times in a row just because they asked. It was a full day of just their needs. I realize this is not feasible for everyone every day. It was just sort of an “aha moment” for me. Maybe the kids aren’t being bad because they are just bad, maybe they are being bad because they are feeling neglected? Possibly they aren’t getting the attention they need from me? And honestly, I believe that is what it was.
So all I ask is that when the moment arises when you feel your blood boiling under your skin and you are ready to run for the hills or lock the kids in a room for eternity; try breathing, try taking a step back and think of the day, think to yourself; ‘was I attentive to them enough, truly attentive?’ And you may, just maybe have your answer as to why the chaos is ensuing.