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Katy England Katy England
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Accentuate the positive

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Man, as a parent you can complain a lot. There's lots to complain about: dishes, yelling, fighting siblings, more dishes, laundry, being tired, being sick (all the time!), not getting enough work done, having to work too much (or not enough). There are endless items to complain about. And if you let it, you can wrap yourself in a shell of negativity. Which I do from time to time.

But it sucks. Because, for one, it doesn't actually help me feel better. Yeah, it's called venting, letting off steam before you rupture but I always end up feeling worse, not better.

So I try different tactics. Look for the positive in any given situation. That can be really difficult, especially when you have three 3-year-olds and temper tantrums happen a lot. (So much.) But it can be done. Here are a few things I do to try to maintain my calm:

-Look for the small good in the large chaos. Little kids have big emotions and will react to a sibling taking a toy they like with the same vehemence an adult would exhibit upon losing a limb or being threatened with bodily harm. So meltdowns can happen for little things. Getting one of the kids to go from screaming to using words and following directions is a huge win.

-Write down the nice things. Often times I email my husband when things are crappy but it's also nice to make note of the nice things. Send those out, or tell people on Facebook when something terribly cute happens. Then go look at it when you're having a bad time. It will help, because it reminds you of why you put up with all the crap.

-Listen for the pleases' and thank yous.'And tell them how much it means to you. It is unbelievably amazing how one little word can make a demand sound like a request. 'Please' is a soothing balm on a stressed out mama's soul.

-Set them up for success. This doesn't always work, but if you can, give your kids a chance to show off their kind skills. Practice makes perfect especially for being a good person. Suggest giving their siblings hugs and kisses (if they are open to it no one wants to get smacked because they tried to hug someone). This makes them super-happy, and it is unbearably cute to watch.

-Praise the good, ignore the bad. This is so hard. The bad seems to garner the most attention on any given day. When everyone is yelling, sometimes you have to raise your voice just to be heard. But when you see the good, tell them you see it. Tell them you love it and you'll start seeing more of it.

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