I don't. And I am.
I am making a real effort the last few weeks to give an order and then give time to allow the appropriate response. And yes I say order. I am not requesting that the children come to dinner, we sit down and all eat at the table together, we just do, it is not optional so it is not a request. It never changes and it is mandatory, the exception is if one is sick.
I am trying to remain calm when talked back to, and when a certain toddler throws a horrendous fit. I am trying to defuse the situation when I can, pick my battles, and say yes as often as I possibly can without spoiling or overindulging.
I expect a lot out of my children, I am afraid one of the last things I have been expecting out of them is for them to be children. Obedience, manners, patience, kindness, gentleness, and then behave like a child. Frankly my children give me being a child (smurfyness my sister says), high energy, rough and tumble, impatience, typically good manners, and rarely they obey without punishment, time out, trip to room, taken away toys, and then only for a short time. They are both very high energy and strong willed, with parents like us what else should I expect. Mr. T and I have turned out to be far more disciplined and hard nosed parents than either of us expected to or wanted to be.
I am realizing I might be expecting too much, ok I KNOW I am expecting too much. There is a place for discipline, and obedience, but they are still children and need to be able to be children. So I am working on my expectations. We have been having some major behavioral issues with MAT. I will not get into them here but they are very inappropriate and more than I can or will tolerate. I am trying to get to the root of the trouble and modify my behavior to help him to modify his.
We are having more discussions, I ask more questions and give him time to give me the answers. We are modifying the timeout and individual playtime routines. I am really trying to find a solution that doesn't involve being red in the face daily. We have tried that for 3 years, believe me, yelling all day doesn't work, I know I tried it. But this seems to be working.
One of our major problems is retaliation. I send MAT to his room and while in there he digs a hole in the wall, or throws things out the window, or draws on the wall, or rips up a book. These behaviors all get him in more trouble and often cause me to yell more. When I asked him why? He replied, "Well I was already in trouble and I was really mad so I thought, why not if I am already in trouble why not a little more."
That was last week.
This week we have been talking about consequences and thinking before doing. I let him know if he is thinking about something and he isn't sure if it is a good idea or not, it probably isn't, but he can come talk to be and check. We have also been talking about setting a good example for RAT and Little T #3. RAT already does everything MAT does and this often ends up with RAT holding the bag that MAT stole.
He seems to be getting it and has had a few requests, like he wants to play by himself sometimes. This requires him playing in a room by himself behind a locked door, as this is the only way to keep little brother out. This requires trust, and that has to be earned. He is working very hard to be deserving. And he is clearly thinking things through. Yesterday he was sent to his room, the only time in the whole day, for a snowball of offenses over about a half hour concluding with him telling his brother and myself that he doesn't like us. I told him he needed to go have a time out in his room and he then needed to come down and apologize for hurting our feelings.
He went up very frustrated and emotional and about 20 seconds after he got in his room he came out and stated, "Mom, you probably shouldn't send me to my room cause I am thinking of making a bad decision while in there." To which I replied, "Thank you for thinking before doing and you may sit on the landing". He sat for his timeout without complaint and then came down and apologized, with hugs, and the rest of the day was reasonably peaceful.
We are limiting the tv, trying to find constructive outlets for energy and finding ways for MAT to play without little RAT Godzilla distroying everything. I am counting the number or times I raise my voice in a day, It is still higher than I would like, but I am still working on it. I have my own anger issues and temper I need to square away so that my children can see that just because one is angry they do not need to lash out. That one can be furious and still be civil and kind. One does not need to yell or throw things to feel better, that one isnt mine, that is Mr. T's problem, a favorite of RAT's to emulate. I am working on being a better mom, I am convinced this will make me happier and healthier and in turn giving us happier healthier children.