Like Clarissa I "Know" the right things to say and do in my head but in the moment when the kids push my buttons my blood pressure spikes instantly and it goes out the door then words are coming out of my mouth sometimes in a very loud fashion and I am not even thinking about what I am saying. Then moments later I am hit with regret and remorse as I realize I have just said the exact things I was trying so hard not to. To add to the guilt, my husband is a yeller and he does say ALL those things that we learn through positive parenting we shouldn't. You know what I am talking about, threats (mostly empty), name calling (stop crying like a baby), comparing (why can't you ... like your (sister/ brother) etc. I've been to a few parenting seminars and classes, I've read a fair share of books on parenting and on age appropriate development. All of this has helped to shape me into a better parent and leads me to be a more Christ-like parent BUT...sometimes it all goes out the window.
My daughter is a real mystery to me. She is SO SENSITIVE and she is seemingly always sad or mad about something. She doesn't have a large interest in her brother in less it is to boss him around. It makes my heart very heavy. Most recently I joined a parenting group at my church. Our facilitator had gone to a workshop on entitlement. The lights went on and suddenly so much made sense. I went home and purchased the book From Innocence to Entitlement a Love and Logic Cure for the Tragedy of Entitlement by Jim Fay This book has changed my whole mindset and has really influenced the way I parent more than all the other workshops, books, seminars and meetings with a parent coach. I discovered that my daughter's issues are most likely related to her sense of entitlement. The book tells us that Entitlement robs us of our happiness. It causes anger and depression. (It's not fair. How come he gets...? But I wanted the ... one. But it's mine, Everyone else has... etc.)
Since reading this book I have mostly done away with the empty threats and the exasperating sarcasm (hurry up, it shouldn't take all day to...) I am using what the book calls "Enforceable statements" Mom's car is leaving in 5 minutes if you don't have your shoes on you'll have to leave without shoes on. ) Another example is instead of "Why can't you brush your teeth like a big girl? " (Because she is playing around being silly, making a mess etc) to "You have 2 mins to finish brushing your teeth and cleaning up your mess before you start using your bedtime story time". It is working -when I remember to use the enforceable statements.
I've also assigned my daughter (almost 5) the task of putting away the clean silverware. After the third day she asked me why she had to do this everyday. I simply told her "because we are a family and in a family every needs to help each other". She then asked why her brother didn't have to do a job. I just told her "when he is 4 he will have a job to help the family also." I want my children to feel like they have something to contribute to the family. I want them to give back and not just take.
My children are entitled. My house and back yard are overrun with toys. They want for nothing; but to ask them there is something they want that they don't have I'm sure. I don't even have any room/ space for ANY new toys. My Daughter has over FORTY stuffed animal toys/ dolls. (sorry about the lighting in the picture). My son has over TWO HUNDRED hot wheel cars and this is only one example for each child. My Husband and I are to blame. We did this. How can my children appreciate anything when everything is always given to them or done for them? So now we are working on helping them become more independent and appreciative. Mom is NOT doing EVERYTHING for them anymore. This has been so hard on me because I am so use to anticipating and acting on all their needs and wants. I have to pause and consciously think to myself, "Is this something he/ she can do?" I have to be ok with letting my children experience being uncomfortable (struggling through a task) so they can grow and become independent. This is hard with my daughter because when she struggles she shuts down and just cries. It's a process for sure.
My daughter is still sad and angry often and I still forget and yell sometimes but it is getting better. I recently borrowed the book Too Many Toys by David Shannon from our local library. We've read it now 5 times I'm not entirely sure she has made the connection to herself but she has made a couple comments about her brother and all his toys.-LOL We've read books about good character, especially sharing. I realize it is a long road ahead of me but I really do not want my children to have this sense of Entitlement. I want them to be appreciative, respectful, loving and most of all I want them to Love themselves in a healthy way and know that they are perfect because God made them.