Friday, May 29

Parenting On Track: Day One

Parenting, recently, has been exhausting and exasperating. I don't think much has changed besides my perception, but perceptions can be powerful. Thanks to some intriguing reporting on the program from Jena, we decided to try Parenting On Track.

Wow.

Saying nothing is extremely difficult. Doing nothing is extremely difficult. The results are powerful.

It started this morning at least an hour before I was hoping to get up; "Mommy, how do you turn the computer on." In my drowsy, hopeful state, I murmured, "The power strip is unplugged."

That was my first mistake. But I was really hoping for another hour of sleep.

He took the initiative to look up "power strip" in the dictionary, but apparently the search was not fruitful. For the next hour, all I heard, in increasing desperation was, "What is a power strip?"

Since then, I've been hit, yelled at, doused with water, pestered with incessant repetitions of the same question, and told, "this is my worst day ever."

I also watched my son follow me up and down the sidewalk on his scooter, with pants on backwards, only one shoe on, and screaming the entire time. I saw him look me in the eye, pick up a can of soda from the counter and drink some. I could see the gears turning, Mommy is not answering me/paying attention to me/letting me control her. I'll try something else that usually gets a reaction. I have also witnessed fighting with his brother to get attention, attempting to disrupt what we are doing to get attention, and, after being told that unsafe behavior will not be tolerated, yelling for help, to be rescued from a marginally safe activity. Oh, and he didn't go to school today.

It's freeing, really, not to have to respond to this atrocious behavior. I have witnessed from the receiving end that repeating a request does not make it happen. That yelling does not make it happen. That violence does not make it happen. That threats (even when carried through) do not make it happen. I ashamedly admit that I already know what these behaviors look like from the other end.

It is much more difficult not to respond to comparatively easy requests delivered in a somewhat reasonable fashion. But doing things for them is what they want, part of the way I interfere with their growth towards independence, and only fosters more requests to take care of things they can do themselves. So I consider the request, and help if I suspect that they really need it. If I suspect they don't, I attempt to ignore it and let the situation escalate.

A byproduct of this approach is that because I am not soliciting/serving/cleaning up after the boys, I suddenly seem to have a lot more time. I don't know what to do with myself.

And so I write.

4 comments:

Karen Maezen Miller said...

Someone's paying attention.

"Tae's Mom" said...

wow, sounds like it is really all your fault for having uber smart kids. i have absolutely no sympathy for you. :) btw, i think i am almost there .... just give me a few years and i may have to send Tae to boarding school (for his own safety).

happy summer vacation!

Vicki said...

Hey There RocketMom,

Week One is a kicker. Remember that you can continue to use anything that ENHANCES the relationship with your child AND supports their growing independence through this Do Nothing, Say Nothing week. Most parents just don't know what they do that enhances so they end up just watching - which in my book, is perfect.

Discovery is where all the valuable information comes from and if you find the courage to walk away, allow things to unfold and learn about yourself and your kids, the insights you gain will change your life forever.

I will be following along, so if you have a question, feel free to ask. We are all about creating community.

Be Well,
Vicki

Lilian said...

Hmmm... very interesting, to say the least! We've been having similar scenarios in our house lately.