Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'm Sick of Yelling - I Want to Play { #CarNatPar }

Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Through Play

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how challenging discipline situations can be met with play. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I'm at a stage in parenting that is just confounding to me. My oldest is now a teenager - starting high school this year! - and truly feels that anything I say must be wrong. Little Guy is driving me up a wall with his almost-3-year-old attitude. I find myself going in a circle with both of them. I start out by reminding myself that I was once their age. I really try to understand situations from their points of view. I explain that, yes, I understand why you want ____, but here's my reason for not allowing ____ at this time. I speak in a low voice, I keep emotion out of it (unless the situation calls for empathy), and I stay firm. This lasts a very short time. I find myself slowly slipping into a angrily slamming things around phase. Then there's the yelling. And, finally, I re-think my position on spanking. That always brings me back to the beginning of the circle and it all starts again.

 This can't be good for any of us. My poor husband really tries to follow my parenting philosophies. When he steps out of those bounds (You Have to Play By the RULES!), I am there to remind him to "play nice" with the kids. Then, he watches as I slowly begin to lose it and become the biggest hypocrite ever. The kids don't know what to expect, either. So, being kids, they push it as far as they can go. If I'd had enough at some point and allowed them to do something that I previously did not allow in a slip of sticking to my words, they'll try 20+ more times to get me to allow that thing again. My oldest uses the talking back and stomping around method (we call it "Humphing"). Whereas, Little Guy does the typical toddler tantrum thing. He throws things, screams, whines, stomps, and occasionally hits or kicks. I see where these behaviors come from - me. It seems to them that the louder and angrier I am, the more I get MY way. Heck, why wouldn't it work for them, too?

I've really been trying to figure out how to change this - for good. That is when I saw that this month's Carnival of Parenting  hosted by Lauren at Hobo Mama and Dionna at Code Name: Mama. is based on Parenting Through Play. Hmm... Both kids like to play. My oldest loves board games and joking around. And Little Guy, well, HE'S ALMOST THREE - of course he likes to play! So, I have a plan that I'm already testing out and fine-tuning. What if I tried teaching my children the lessons they need to learn (the reason behind 99% of the rules in our home) through playing with them?


 Here's how I'm envisioning it (so far):
For the Oldest, it's going to take a little work. I want him to become more responsible for himself. His biggest excuse for everything is, "I forgot." And, you know what? I believe him. But it is infuriating when he constantly forgets everything, all of the time. Little things like picking up dirty socks or throwing a candy wrapper into the trash, middle-ground things like not taking out the trash when the wastebasket is full, and BIG stuff like forgetting to ask his coach for the phone numbers of a few of his cross country teammates so he can catch rides to and from meets (first one is TUESDAY and I have absolutely NO IDEA how it's going to happen for him and no coach's phone number- ARGH!) I've tried charts, calendars, planners, lists, leaving post-it notes everywhere, verbally reminding him... everything I can think of. It works for a few weeks, then we're back to me screaming at him and him shutting down. But, with this new trial of parenting through play, I remembered that he remembers conversations we've had while playing games with each other from way back when he was just 5 years old!
  • I am going to try to make time to play board games or cards with him (or my husband can) two to three nights a week. 
  • Before the game, I'm making a list of the things that need to be talked about.
  • I'll also search for funny quotes or jokes that have to do with the things that he needs to remember and out them on the list, too.
Little Guy is going to be kind of tough, too. He's stubborn right now. I just read a post by Hybrid Rasta Mama about her Mindful Mothering Challenge this morning and, I swear, she was describing my kid! (Off the subject of Parenting Through Play - I'm going to start on this challenge, from The Parenting Passageway ASAP!) Anyway, she described her little one as blatantly doing exactly what Mama doesn't want her to do, and not doing the things Mama really wants/needs her to do. This is Little Guy. I feel like reverse psychology is the main theme of my life - I'm even using it on hubby. I feel like I'm being less-than-honest when I do this. So, Here's what I'm thinking for little guy:
  • Books - lots of them - from the library about cooperation. Books that show how happy everyone is when they use teamwork to get the job done right. Books that explain the dangers of doing things like not holding hands in the street and taking off in a busy grocery store so Mama can't find you.
  • He loves playing with his Hot Wheels and often has a lot of dialog going on with them. I'm going to try to naturally work in different scenarios that often end up with me yelling and him having a tantrum, but with the endings showing him WHY I have certain rules. Maybe one would be: "Blue Truck" doesn't listen to his mommy when she tells him not to do something and then he gets hurt. Nothing preachy, no, "Let's talk about what that truck just did and how it pertains to you!" kind of lectures. 
  • I also saw an idea for something called The "Fix" Game on Dr. Laura Markham's Aha! Parenting. Basically, you take a few minutes out of your day and chase your little one around giving hugs, kisses, and snuggles... Getting your "fix" of your little one for the day. It shows them, very clearly, that you DO love them and gives them the direct attention they need. I've already been doing this a few times a day and I've really noticed a marked improvement in attitude and cooperation from Little Guy. We all need some silly lovin' and, with a kid who automatically goes into negative attention mode whenever he feels no one is paying attention to him, it's so important!!!
Well, this is all I have for now. I find myself thinking of this subject often and brainstorming for Parenting Through Play ideas whenever my mind becomes idle - doing dishes, folding laundry, etc. I would absolutely LOVE to hear anymore ideas from you. My entire parenting scheme needs changing and I have to do it NOW... or else. I've fallen into too many bad habits and that circle I'm rolling around in is making me and my family sick. 

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

19 comments:

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I'd really recommend "Playful Parenting" by Larry Cohen - it is an amazing resource, even if you or your hubby are not fully sold on gentle parenting. For your preschooler, one thing you might consider is giving him some power back through play - instead of making his truck get hurt, let HIM be the one to tell YOU to hold his hand. Or let him crash into you and then you sit there and cry and cry. Often they know what they're supposed to do, but they feel like they have no control over their lives. Play is a good way to let them have some control back. Good luck!

teresa said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I think you're brilliant. And having more than one child and such different stages...
Starting to play boardgames and work in conversation...
You are a great example of how to do this at any stage. I'll have to follow some of your links too....
I will copy some of your ideas and I can't thank you enough for that. Inspiration always welcome!!

Amy @ Anktangle said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love your plans! Can't wait to hear how it turns out. And kudos to you for parenting a teen and a 3-year-old at the same time. =)

Shana said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love your idea with the hot wheels and role playing! My 3-year old is really in to trains right now and also like to narrate while he's playing. I think I could use that idea with him.

Erica @ ChildOrganics said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Parenting is so hard, isn't it?! I know what you mean about seeing your kids act in a way that you don't approve of and seeing yourself in that behavior!I know for myself taking things on the more playful side has been a huge help. It's hard though, I have to constantly remind myself to lighten up. Playful Parenting by Dr. Cohen really helped me. Thanks for sharing!

mamapoekie said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

As I said on my blog, yelling and anger management are big deals in my house too. The problem is, as for you, that my husband has the same issues, and as he has less time exploring these issues, he ticks off ven easier. And then he either sets me off against the little one or against him... the end result is that everyone's screaming... ugh... I'll be happy when these pregnancy hormones have worked out and I can regain some control over myself

mudpiemama said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I think it is wonderful that you have made a plan and that you want to try to change something. You have great ideas and a plan I think will really work for you and your family!
Thank you for sharing all your ideas and your honesty!

Terri said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

A post of real honesty and integrity. It's a wonderful adventure to stop something that is not working and try a new approach -wishing you well Mama!

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This is great. Thanks for being so real. I'm always horrified and agog when my son does something grouchy or mean or whatever and it's just like me. Eek.

I'm loving The Fix Game, too — what a great way to connect!

Alicia C. said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@teresa
Keep an eye out, in the next couple of weeks, Erin from It's OK and I are planning on working on our own Mindful Parenting Challenge. We're planning on doing one of the steps every two weeks. There will be a linky for whoever else would like to participate (and those who have already done it) to add their own posts. I think that having someone else do this with me is the kick in the pants I need to get going and keep going!

Alicia C. said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Dionna @ Code Name: Mama
Thank you for the recommendation! We've checked out the book and it has really changed a lot of the behaviors of both me and Little Guy. Heck, even my oldest - I've been joking around with him a lot more and he's been more willing to do the things I ask without an attitude!

Alicia C. said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Amy @ Anktangle
In all honesty, parenting a teen and a 3 y.o. is pretty much the same. (Oh, and we can even throw in my husband, who's hitting the mid-life crisis stage!) They all have tantrums over the littlest thing, they all will do exactly the opposite of what they know I want them to do (or not do), and they all need naps!

Alicia C. said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Erica @ ChildOrganics I checked out Playful Parenting and it has really made a difference! Thank you!

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