Even though I wrote my last post yesterday, I had been meaning to write it for nearly two weeks. I was feeling confused, conflicted and overcome with feelings of guilt with how to handle my son’s behavior and my emotions. My boyfriend and I know that spanking isn't an option, which is I why I think the yelling came in as an alternative; but when I realized my yelling was a sign of anger within me and was clearly not working, I decided to take the time out approach.
As I mentioned in my previous post we did the time out thing in the past, but in an attempt to not yell I made time outs the primary form of discipline. Even though it didn't seem to work, I figured it would eventually stick that certain behavior would result in time outs without TV and toys. After about a week he would act out and before I could even say “time out” he would beat me to it. “Time out Mommy”, “yes, you get time out now”, I would say. “OK” he would reply as if it didn't really matter to him. When he started saying “Mommy I want time out”, I felt even more confused and frustrated and realized this method was not working either.
I decided to pick my Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids book up again because you know what? If spanking, yelling and time outs aren't the answer then what is? I knew something was missing and I was willing to try anything. As I started where I left off I felt as if something clicked. I wasn't open to reading about how to handle MY emotions and MY behaviors when I originally began the book, I was looking for a way to control his behavior.
I did mention in my earlier post I understood my negative energy was having an effect on him and I needed to make changes. My attitude, my disposition, my way of treating him and connecting with him are essential for him to thrive as a toddler and continue into his preschool and teenage years. As emotional as I am, my emotional IQ is practically zero because I apparently only see things from my perspective (maybe that’s because I am a narcissistic millennial) and need to learn how to see things from his perspective, also known as empathy.
The author discusses the need for us to have meaningful connections with our children and try to set aside at least 15 minutes each day for “special time”; time that is spent without any distractions doing whatever our little one wants to do. Whether it be playing trucks, roughhousing (she mentions this a lot) or coloring, our children need quality time with us to connect each day.
I have dealt with feelings of guilt because he is in daycare nearly 10 hours each day. He would normally wake up at about 7:30am and we’re out the house on our way by 8:45am. That’s a little over an hour in the morning and the time we spent would be getting ready and me yelling at him for fooling around when he should be brushing his teeth. His father is normally gone by the time he wakes up so he doesn't have any time to connect with him in the morning either. We normally get home at 7:15pm with him going to bed at 8:30pm and when I come to think of it, we really don’t have that much time to spend during the week so why and how could I use the little bit of time we have to bond pushing him away and ignoring him to do housework when all he really wants is my love and affection?
That’s what the book really comes down to. Showing love, empathy and creating deep meaningful connections with our children. When we ignore our children, we are passing up on an opportunity to share a loving embrace with our child. When we focus on our cellphones and television we show our children they are not important and when we yell and put them in time out we make them feel shame, anger and feelings of abandonment. When they have those feelings they only continue to act out because they feel bad. When they feel bad they act bad. If we miss out on opportunities to connect now, we may not be the influence we need to be for our children when they’re faced with peer pressure when they’re older.
Wow. This book really hit me like a ton of bricks. Now don’t get me wrong, I tell my son I love him everyday and I am incredibly affectionate toward him. At the same time I do yell and push him off to do other things and not give him the time he needs with me. How could I be so selfish? I placed most of my focus making sure he was well taken care of physically but I was completely ignoring his emotional development.
How could I expect him to control his temper when I, as an adult, cannot set the example he needs? How could I expect him to feel loved and secure and happy when his emotional needs are not being met? He’s still developing and does not understand the concept of time when I’m in a rush or my need to cook dinner in that hour and a half we have between getting home and him going to bed. He feels lonely, confused by my behavior and feels bad inside and THAT is why he acts out.