I had a really cool experience today, and I wanted to share
I realize that most of you have never met my kids (or me!), but let me start by saying that my oldest, who is 4, is normally a very “easy” child. He is very complaint, tender, and big hearted. I am so thankful that God blessed me with him first, because he is such an example of child-like faith and trust. He’s not normally prone to anger… instead he shows his hurt (if only I could do that without masking my hurt with anger!). He has taught me so much already, and I look forward to all of the lessons that I know he’ll teach me as he grows.
So, with that said, you’ll understand why today left me shocked.
We went out to eat for dinner, and he needed to go potty. Long story short: someone was in the handicapped stall and he FREAKED out. He was SCREAMING. For some reason he wanted that stall, and he was screaching that the other potty was too small and it was a big ol’ mess. He wouldn’t pee, then he was screaming at the top of his lungs. I was pretty mortified, to be honest. We walked out of the bathroom and everyone was looking at me as if I had taken him in there for a beating! I was firm, but gentle. I did everything that normally calms him down, and yet when we left the restaurant, I was still scratching my head. I could not figure out why that set him off or why his response was so extreme.
Now, on a different note, we’ve been working on a lot of the ideas in Jane Nelson’s Positive Discipline. One of those strategies is to talk to your children at night about what was their saddest and their happiest moment for the day. Because of ds’ personality, most nights he doesn’t even have a saddest moment. He is just that upbeat. The idea is that by talking about these little happy and sad moments now, we are building a relationship where these same ideas can be discussed later. While they are young, it is helpful because it addresses those “big feelings” before it can snowball.
As I was tucking ds into bed tonight, before we had even gotten to the point where I ask him about his day, he blurted out that he needed to talk to me about his saddest time today. He then gushed all of the big feelings that he was having in the bathroom, and it made PERFECT sense why he was so upset. I would’ve been upset too! He told me some ideas that he had for better ways to handle it in the future, and I left his room beaming tonight.
I can’t even express in words how beautiful it is to see not only our relationship blossom, but also to see him grow and be able to problem solve and learn from less desirable (or socially acceptable) behaviors. We all have moments where we handle a situation wrong, but to be able to internalize and then think of solutions is such a higher level of thought. I feel so blessed that I didn’t turn to shaming or punishing him for that behavior. Just like God allows us as adults to think and then learn from our mistakes, he was able to do the same (and of course this wasn’t a sinful situation). To see that model working in my son was wonderful. I’m so proud of him and the little man that he is becoming.