Originally Posted by elizawill
....but seriously, my husband and guests probably wouldn't be around too long if they spoke to me or treated me as my kids have on some occassions.
So, what kinds of behavior are we talking about exactly? Now granted, my kids are younger (2 and 4), but I can't think of anything they do that I would kick my dh, or a guest, out over--
Let me see if I can think of an example-- well yesterday I was so tired I went and lay down in bed for a bit (exhausted and pregnant here!) and when I came out, the kids (who had
been watching a movie) were using the sink sprayer-attachment-thing to spray water ALL OVER the kitchen. Everything was wet, dripping, and soaking. I was not pleased at all. It took several big bath towels to mop it all up.
So when I think in my head, what would I do if my dh did this? First off, based on our prior relationship, I would respect that it must have seemed like a good idea to him for some reason
. I would realize that I need to respect him even if I feel he was in the wrong, because I want to protect out trusting and caring relationship. I would give him the benefit of the doubt
that he did NOT do this to hurt me or make my life miserable. So the first thing I would do is listen to what he had to say about the situation. Perhaps DH would have some reasonable explanation for spraying the whole kitchen to soaking-- or at least, a reasonable excuse. Either way, I can be respectful and considerate-- modeling the behavior I want to see more of in my household-- and modeling the way I would like my dh to treat me, as well. After hearing his side of it, I would explain what I didn't like about it and what was bothering me, and we would work it out without blaming and anger.
In the situation with the kids, the biggest thing I can carry over from my hypothetical situation with dh, is trusting in their good intentions
-- giving them the benefit of the doubt-- that they didn't do this on purpose to hurt or bug me. They're just being kids. In fact, if anyone was at fault, it was me, for leaving them unsupervised. So being angry at them is pointless (and unrighteous if I indulge it), and being punitive is unjust and will only make them feel bad for being normal, playful, inquisitive kids. Consideration for others is something that takes YEARS to learn. It's amazing how considerate we expect kids to be when they're so little!!! Sometimes we expect them to be more considerate than we might be in the same situation.
As for the "guest" scenario, it might help to imagine this is a guest from a completely different culture, with almost no exposure to Western culture and expectations at all. This is a guest that you have been entrusted to teach and guide while they are with you, and this is someone fairly important-- perhaps a prince or princess. Now imagione that this guest had made a huge mess of the kitchen with the sprayer hose. You wouldn't immediately get mad-- at least not as a good hostess-- you would try to find out what they were trying to do. How exactly did this happen. Maybe they didn't know how the sprayer works. Maybe they were trying to help clean the dishes. Maybe in their culture this is the way people clean a kitchen-- spray liberally with water and then mop up! You would simply explain your customs genially and then take steps to arrange for it not to happen in the future.
You could do this by: 1.) giving them information (some things are damaged by water; I don't like cleaning the kitchen this way, it's too messy; don't worry about cleaning the kitchen for me; I'll take care of it next time) 2.) and if necessary, creating boundaries for next time, like, for the duration of their visit with you, not leaving them alone with a sink full of dishes if you know they like "washing dishes", or not leaving them alone with water at all if it's just the water they like playing with and 3.) if you thought there was a bit of a disconnect in the relationship, that was making them not be as cooperative, trying to do things to "woo" your guest back into your good graces a little bit, or spend more time with them and 4.) guiding their actions more (in this culture they are not familiar with) to help them to make good choices.
So I hope you can see a little better what I meant by trying to think how you might act if it were your dh or a guest. It's not meant exactly literally, but as a tool to help you get away from the mom-always-right-kids-need-to-be-cooperative mindset.