Have you ever stopped to think about why you do things a certain way? For me it’s the way I wake up and immediately go into Drill Sergeant mode, make the beds, brush your teeth, comb your hair, get dressed, 10 minutes, let’s go. Although my own morning wake-up routine is different from the one for the kids, it’s ruled by let’s get these things done. I attribute that to the way my own parents woke me up in the morning. We had to be where we were going on time and not one detail could be missed or it would throw the whole system out of whack. I told myself growing up I would gently wake my kids up with kisses and gentle brushes. Well folks, that technique completely went out the window some 24 year ago when Symone had a meltdown about not wanting to wear matching shoes and the issue was making us late. There had to be order to our routine which meant I needed to be strict, right? I found myself parenting this way for years and I can tell you none of us enjoyed this morning routine scene. I admitted to myself that it was what worked for my parents and I was up and out on time so it would work for my kids.
While I love many things that my parents passed on to me that make me a better parent, like making sure I speak to my kids daily and being intentional about the time we spend together, this chaotic morning routine is something I wanted to adjust. As you and I both know there is no parenting manual, so the skills we learn are by watching the behaviors of those that have come before us and then making them our own. I had made the less than gentle way of waking my children my own and added a dragon’s roar to it.
One morning while waking the crew I startled myself. 7:10am and we needed to be headed out the door. Of course little Miss Anissa was too sleepy to get dressed. She didn’t have her shoes on, she hadn’t brushed her teeth, and her bed was unmade (making the bed each morning makes me happy). As I was rushing to bark out the chores and next steps I saw a tear trickle down her cheek. Why was she crying? I felt anger begin to build up inside, as I was about to remind her for the fifth time this morning WE HAD TO GO! As she looked up at me my heart sank. I don’t like to be yelled at when I’m having a tough time so why would I do it to her? I went to my room and gave myself a reset! (Reset- a moment you take to get yourself under control). I went back in, got on her level and was able to figure out what was stopping her from progressing that morning. After some words of encouragement we were off. We were late that day, but my little girl went to school confident and happy.
Sometimes we need to take a moment, reset, and figure out why we do the things we do, and if those things are working for the greater good of all involved. If not, re-evaluate and take a new course of action. Do you want to change your parenting style to incorporate new methods? How will you do this? What are some things your parents did that you catch yourself doing, but want to change?