Friday, October 22, 2010

Being Good When My Kids Are Bad

When my kids are bad I try to be good. I may be gritting my teeth the entire time I'm doing so, but I'd like to think that we are a positive reinforcement household, or at least that's what I'd have you believe. But the truth is that most of the time we're just two exhausted parents who are doing the best that they can. I do try to make an effort to try and teach my boys how to right their wrongs in a positive way though.

Now, being positive with my children isn't to say that I allow them to get away with whatever they want with no repercussions. And it's also not to say that I'm one of those moms who gushes over every single little thing that their child does on a daily basis. I try to reserve that level or praise for when it's deserved and needed.

Some things though, need to be put out there in the open, for my children to learn and for my sanity as well.

"This is not a restaurant. You don't get to order any dinner you want. If you don't eat what I've made for you then you'll be hungry later on tonight and I'm not cooking you another meal at 8PM."
"Please use the bathroom now please so that you're not whining that you have to go while we're in the checkout line with a cart overflowing with groceries."
You're all moms, I'm sure you get my drift. Those are the kindly mom suggestions that would make life a whole lot easier on everyone. Unfortunately, in my house the 7 year old and the 3 year old and I don't exactly see eye to eye on that.

On top of that there's what is simply expected of them because they are in fact people living in a house as opposed to horses living in a barn.

"Please do not blow your nose into your bed sheet. Get a tissue!"

"I know that mommy is the only girl in the house, but please, for the love of all that is holy, flush the toilet when you're done and put the seat down!"
As great as my intentions are to be positive, there is still plenty of yelling, time outs, and "keep your hands to yourselves" in our household.

But there are good times too, and as a mom it's important that we nurture that and make sure our children know just how proud we are of them.

When Brayden comes home from school with a new piece of artwork or a paper with a good grade on it, we tell him how absolutely great he's doing.

When Gage plays nicely at MOPS with the other boys and girls and shares the toys we reinforce how well he did and how happy we are that he had a good time.

Those small but positive encouragements are the ones that stick, the ones that will build their little characters. And they are the ones that will trickle down to everything that they do in life. In turn I'm hoping that it will make my boys not so cynical in a world where negatives are so easily found.

It's starting to show in our household. When Brayden draws something nice, Gage will compliment him on a job well done. When Gage sings a song, Brayden will tell him what a good job he did.

When I actually fold the laundry and put it away, rather than live out of baskets for a week, I'm congratulated...

When I make something yummy for dinner, I'm told how great it is that I didn't burn it...

Well ... at least they haven't learned the fine art of sarcasm yet, so I know that they are being honest. When my husband joins in with them though, well that's another matter entirely.

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