Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Be a calm parent, they said. It will be great, they said.

I like the idea that if I just state facts, allow natural consequences to happen, and remain unemotional, my children will do what needs to be done without my nagging, fussing, or feeling like an extra half dose of Lexapro is a good idea.

Throughout this motherhood gig, I really have tried to be a natural consequences advocate.  When N was little and insisted on going outside without a coat, I let her.  She quickly came back in the house shivering, and I didn't have to yell or anything.

When she refused to get dressed for preschool one time, I dropped her off at the door with her clothes in a bag and said to Ms. Jennifer, "Here's her clothes.  Good luck and good-bye."

With the two knuckleheads, things seem more complicated, which makes me increasingly banshee-ish.

I try to state facts.  I try to remain calm.  But while I'm watching the clock tick, the boys are having a WWF-level event in their bedroom, which may or may not (likely not) involve the removal of their pajamas and the installation of school-appropriate clothing.

So I restate the facts, which seems an awful lot like nagging.

And the natural consequence of not being ready for the bus means missing the bus and results in me having to drive them to school, which is, for them, a positive consequence.  Or the other natural consequence is not going to school.  This is where that whole concept of "natural consequences parenting" doesn't seem to work.

Yesterday, both the boys were avoiding getting their shoes/coats on to get out to the bus.  M said, "I wasn't listening," was his excuse, as if that is so much better than "trying to give the cats more treats" which is what G was doing.

Anyway, by the time I got them upstairs, the bus was there.

I immediately transformed into a banshee-like drill sergeant:  "RUN! RUN! RUN!"

M had one shoe on his foot, the other in his hand and no coat on.  G had his coat on but no shoes on his feet.

I wish I could have photographed the look on G's face when he said, "But we don't have shoes on!"  It was like he thought I'd gone stark raving mad.  I kept screeching, "RUN!  RUN!  I DON'T CARE.  RUN IN SOCKS!"

I grabbed M's coat and both their backpacks, and we sprinted for the bus.

They made it, and I suspect it shocked them both enough (the realization that their mom will actually make them go to the bus however she threatens in pajamas or half-naked or without shoes) that they'll cooperate more the first time I remind them of the time.  

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I love it! I think doing this sometimes is what 's necessary so that they start to understand WHY we nag them to get ready on time. I hope it works for you!