Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Toddler Tuesday: Monsters or Monsterous Behavior?

I had been dealing with behavior challenges and a teething toddler.  I couldn’t handle much more stress.  I prayed for God’s peace and calmness.  I was lead to two blog posts and a Facebook status.

First I read this article.
The advice given to this mom was "Say yes more than you say no." This made me start thinking what does that "saying no" start to mean to our kids?

Of course saying no means; "No, that is dangerous." or "No, that breaks the rules." and all those legitimate reasons we say no. I am referring to the times that we are too stressed, tired, or busy. What about those no's, what are those no's saying? What about when we say "no" because we know the result of saying yes? The selfish reasons we say no.

Saying "no" in those times means:
  • I get in your way
  • I am not important
  • I am an inconvenience
  • You don't like me
  • I can't have fun
Those "no's" result in, "You always say no." That is a heartbreaking thing to hear.

Did I ever want to make my children feel this way? Did I want my "no's" to mean something? Did I say "no" more than I said "yes"?

With a recent move and a bunch of life changes I found myself dealing with a lot of behavior challenges with my kids. Where were these behaviors coming from? I really had to sit down and take a look at what was going on. These are things I heard quite often …
  • Mommy, can I play with my play dough? - No, honey it makes too much of a mess.
  • Mommy, can I play with -(filling in the blank)-? - No, honey it's at the storage unit and you will have to wait until we are at our new house.
  • Mommy, can we cuddle? - Sure honey, let me finish this first.
  • Mommy, can we go play somewhere? - No, honey it's too cold.
  • Not to mention the fighting, screaming and whining.
I was saying "no" and "stop" all the time. The same day I read the article about saying yes more I read "Dear Mom on the iPhone." Fill in "Mom on the Computer" and that could have been me.

The thing that turned my attitude was when I read a status on Facebook. It was mentioning what monsters a friend's kids were being. I decided that week I was not going to call my kids monsters no matter how they were acting. I was going to stop what I was doing when I was asked to do something no matter how inconvenient it was at the time.

The next time I was asked, "Mommy, will you play Candyland?" I said, "Yes." The next time I was asked, "Mommy, can I play with my play dough?" I said, "Yes." When I was asked, "Will you play with me?" I said, "Yes."

This particular day I was asked, “Mommy can I play with my play dough?”  “Sure, honey.”  “Mommy will you play with me?”  “Yes.”

The light in her eyes when I said yes.

Mama's Rose
Family adventure to the zoo.
At the zoo there were ducks and snowmen.
She even cleaned up without complaining.  There is power in saying yes.

There will come a time - much too soon I am sure - when I won't be asked to cuddle, read books, play games and color. I decided I am going to "say yes more than I say no". When I have to say "no" I am going to make sure it is for a good reason.
  • "Mommy, can we make a cake" (It is after bedtime.) "We can't make it right now, but we can make it tomorrow." Then follow through on that tomorrow.
I prayed a long time for my kids. I never want them to think they are not important or an inconvenience. I am going to do my best to say yes more than I say no. I am going to do my best to find balance between work and family. All too soon they will be moving out and having kids of their own. When they are showing monsterous behavior I will first take a look at what is going on around them first.

What's going on with your toddlers these days?

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