How many of you resolved to yell less at your kids this year? Actually, let me amend that, to just be nicer to your kids?
I ask because I’ve seen a whole lot of stuff going around the web lately about how to stop yelling. Apparently yelling is the new spanking for our generation.
I get it. Yelling at your kids totally sucks. Even while you’re doing it you are already regretting it, yet you can’t seem to make it stop.
Nobody wants to parent that way – for sure. But I’d bet that most of us aren’t actually yelling at our kids all that much.
In my house, at least, it isn’t the occasional loss of my cool that makes the mom guilt come knocking, it’s the eye-rolling, the snapping, the condescending and the criticizing. And just to be clear, I’m not talking about my kids – I’m talking about me. These are my bad habits that come out when I’m pre-occupied, stressed, tired, or even just annoyed.
These are the behaviors that have the most potential to pollute my relationship with my kids.
I say the potential because my children are little. They still basically worship me (and I them) and there are still lots and lots of good days full of giggles. But I’m the boss and I’m good at bossing my kiddos around.
I can already see what might be coming if I don’t learn to be a more patient and empathetic parent. Soon my littles are going to be more fully formed beings that won’t take my word as law anymore… And then what?
I want my children to feel close to me, to come to me with their problems, to talk to me, and just generally like me!
So I’ve got a very straight forward plan for the year to help me become the parent I want to be and I’d like to formally invite you to join me.
These rings are going to keep us honest.
How? By serving as a very tangible reminder on how we’re doing each day.
The Plan is Simple
Start each day with all five rings on your right hand and move one to your left hand each time you have a setback.
What’s a setback? Losing your patience, saying “no” out of habit instead of really considering the request, having unrealistic expectations, etc., etc. I’m sure you have your own list.
Be warned, the beginning could be tough. We’re going to be taking a long hard look at our parenting selves and we might not always like what we see. But hang in there! If your left hand has already filled up with rings before lunchtime, just remember that we’re all a work in progress and we all have to start somewhere.
Run your thumb across those 5 rings and remind yourself that you’re doing your best and you’re doing something real to try to do better.
I don’t know yet, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the days when fewer and fewer rings switch hands are near. And the payoff is going to be huge.
So who’s with me?
By the way, you don’t really need any rings to do this, and you certainly don’t need pretty hammered metal rings or colorful silicon rings. You can use rubber bands, hair ties, even rainbow loom loops.
UPDATE: I actually wrote this post 3 years ago. I decided to re-post it today because it had such a HUGE reception the first time around and I figured we’ve gained a ton of followers since then that missed out initially. (Also, I just found those super cute silicon rings!)
See the update on how I did with my rings here.
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