One of my kids has been a beast of a kid lately. Everything they do is naughty and/or mean. They are completely defiant. They don’t care what things you take away, or how many times they sit in solitude on their bed.
I have reached my limit. I am tired of feeling angry with this kid. It has gotten bad that I don’t even have the fake smiles to welcome an improved attitude when it shines through the surface for 10 seconds. (*Bad, Mom!*)
So, I have been praying about it. I have also taken extra measures to pray over each of my kids, especially Captain Contrary, at night before I go to bed. I ask God to bless them, Our Lady to protect them, and I pray for our relationships as parents-kids and kids-kids.
Yesterday, my sweet rebel was at it again first thing. We hadn’t even gotten to the breakfast tale yet! I almost issued bread and water* to them, but I let it slide. As soon as breakfast was over, they were bossing siblings around, sitting on siblings, fighting with siblings, being disobedient and destructive. So, I called the child to my side and looked them in the eye. I took a deep breath** and remembered my prayers.
Me: Do you like it when the other kids do (everything they had done) to you?
Me: Do you like it when I get upset with you?
Me: Do you like to be in trouble all day long?
Me: I don’t either. I don’t like this rude and mean [kid], I love the fun and sweet [kid]! And, guess what, the other kids like that [kid] too! Go sit on your bed and look at Jesus on the cross and see how much He loves you and wants you to be good. Say a Hail Mary and ask Jesus and Mother Mary to help you to not be rude and mean any more. Then you can come back.
Kid: *walked away for 10 minutes and came back totally renewed!!!!!!!*
I totally praised the new child that emerged. Made special points to recognize all the good and positive behavior and it went [mostly] without a problem the rest of the day.
Now I just need to keep on keepin’ on in remembering to not be so quick to lose my temper and to discipline more with Jesus. Hail Mary, full of grace…
*One of my new forms of discipline, thanks to Kevin Leman’s Have a New Kid by Friday (you can find it here), is to quietly issue bread and water diet until an attitude has improved. He says instead of losing your temper 12 times because they haven’t done something you have asked, you just make a mental tally. When the next meal comes, you prepare everyone’s plate of food but hand the troublemaker a slice of bread and glass of water. They will protest, and ask for whatever it is they want to eat, but you calmly respond that you asked them to do X, Y, and Z and they didn’t feel like listening to you so you don’t feel like doing something for them. They will apologize and cry and whatnot, but you have to follow through. It is hard to not give in to snacks throughout the day because you know they are hungry, but you better believe there is improved attitude and they are all ready for the next meal when it comes!
**At the end of the book, Leman says to stop before you freak out about a wrong-doing, and ask yourself what the old-self would do and to turn that old-self response into a newer, better-self response to the situation.