My kids’ behaviour, or more to the point, my reaction to it, has been a little less than ideal lately (you know, for the last 10 years…) and it’s been really bothering me. It’s actually normal kid behaviour I suppose. Most people would say my kids’ behaviour is fine but at times I don’t see it that way.
My need for harmony is strong but I’m self aware enough to know there’s not going to be a lot of it. But when I’m tired (which is a fair bit lately because of insomnia issues) or feeling stressed, my tolerance levels take a dive and that’s when the trouble starts.
My boys are not quiet. In fact when they’re together and mucking around it’s beyond nuts. Then they start doing things we’ve asked them countless times not to: jumping on the couch, playing ball up and down the hallway (noooooooooo, not the newly painted walls being trashed!), general wrestling and then when they play Minecraft there is inevitably a fight. And that’s when my chest constricts and my breathing gets fast and I feel like running away rather than face the same old stuff.
Then there’s the usual bed time procrastination. That’s normal I’m sure. Dan’s okay but Mitch will, no matter what time it is, try and draw that bedtime out. It’s gotten to the point where there’s dread (on my part) involved.
In terms of discipline and cooperation, we do okay but there is way too much yelling. So obviously it could be better. Yesterday Anth and I decided to have a family meeting. Ewwww. These were the things the kids agreed to:
- If they fight and we’re in the same room, they need to take it out of the room. The consequence if they don’t? 10 minutes in their room. This may not seem much but our kids love to be around us and not stuck in their room.
- Bed time. We’ve given them designated bed times. If there’s stuffing around by either of them, then the next night they have to go to bed 15 minutes earlier.
- Bloody Minecraft. All in all it’s a pretty harmless computer game. We restrict their time on it to weekends – an hour each on Saturday/Sunday if we’re around. But 99% of the time when that hour is up they’ll say “but I’ve just got to do this” and the other one is yelling at them to get off. So, 10 minutes before cut off time, they have to wind it up. If they are not off it on the hour, then they lose 15 minutes next time.
We asked the kids if there was anything we could do better for them. Embarrassingly, Dan asked that I don’t swear as much!!! Oh dear – an absolute failing of mine. Mitch didn’t come up with anything, but I reckon he’ll just stew on it for a bit!
Oh, and then there’s getting ready for school – one big cause of a constricted chest and lack of breathing on my part! Last week we started an experiment. The experiment was that I would not say anything to hurry them up in the morning. We have a basic list of what they need to do to be able to get out the door. Can I tell you, it is SOOOO HARD not to say anything when they haven’t even started any of it before 8am yet they’ve been up for 15 minutes jumping on each other. However, I’ve pretty much held my tongue and you know what, they’re getting ready in time. Just a few tweaks required but I’m not asking for perfection. I’m just trying to get them to be more in control of how they sort themselves out rather than me prompting (yelling). That list has been amazing – we’ve had it for a while. So simple, yet so effective. Especially for boys.
I have no idea whether our family meeting agreements will work. It’ll take discipline from all of us. I swore this morning and Dan picked me up on it. We just figured out that my consequence is 50c in a swear jar and we have to split it between the two of them at the end of 7 days. I hope not to be giving them much, if any.