Hi, here's an invitation to read a post about making requests vs. making demands on others, which is what sounds like to me may be at the bottom of this scenario you describe.... http://connectionfirst.blogspot.com/
As far as the outer gear, my 5 year old still likes LOTS of help with this, too. It can be really tiresome and challenging for little hands to fasten all those buckles, zippers, boots and mittens....
My 8 year old still appreciates help too, but does most of it himself.
I am wondering if you are willing to explore why you are triggered by your son wanting your help, what thoughts or judgments you might be having about that.... do you think he "should" be doing this himself? That's where I always try to go when I'm feeling (insert negative feeling here) about my child's behavior.
Krista! That blog post is AWESOME! It was so good that I read the whole entire thing even though the white text on dark background make the words jiggle and my eyes go buggy. It was seriously worth it!!
I have these thought-blips that amount to what the blog post said, but the post just fleshed it out so thoroughly and clearly,...I really appreciated reading it. And I will share it with my husband who also needs to know this.
Ack! OK, it's settled, I will change the dark screen. I love green but my eyes kind of do that too. Thanks so much for the feedback about that and about my post. It's good to know it's been helpful. I was saying to a friend, I write these things mainly for *me*. *I* need to remind myself about this because I am so human and forget to live from my values and so often fall back to old conditioning.... It's great that by making my thoughts public, someone else may benefit as well.
I respectfully disagree. I mean, I KNOW what you mean. But maybe it's in the fine print of the wording I chose. I said there's no reason to be angry. Maybe I should have said "there's no emotionally healthy reason to be angry at a child" (===>IN the situation under discussion, which is the kid "disobeying" or "misbehaving" or whatever. That is, not a willful aggressive act, but kids just being kids.). Obviously, you're right. Anger is anger. If we get angry, we get angry. The anger is "what is," and it is that reality with which we must cope. In that sense it is neutral. But I strongly believe that the anger we are talking about here is the base of so, so, so, much strife that I see on these message boards. Parents want to know how to stop hitting, they want to know how to stop yelling, threatening, feeling like they're about to blow......so my modus operandi is to investigate what's under the anger. And I maintain that it is our LENS through which we see what the child is doing which causes the anger. And it is that which I seek to analyze, cure, solve, whatever. I'm big into problem-solving. Changing the lens through which we see. Changing the paradigm if that is the correct word.
I think about this stuff all the time. You say anger is devoid of moral value. OK, maybe it's the expression of the anger that can have moral value? (or negative moral value?) Because frankly I do think it's wrong to get angry at a kid who's just doing the best he knows how because he's only been on earth for a handful of years. OK, you say, but I'm angry and the anger has no moral component. Don't you think so? Whether it gets outwardly expressed at the little one (unfair; scary for the kid; invites him to be aggressive back at you) or stuffed (which is self-destructive for the parent). Anger demands an outlet. It has a result; a physical toll. (I have recently become very aware at the churning stomach and racing heartbeat that anger or its suppression has caused inside my own body. And it's been long known that the outward expression of it just inflames my child.....but wait.....I am referring to UNFAIR anger, which brings me back to where we started)
So I guess if I were to get myself out of this word puzzle, I'd have to change my wording. There's no reason to be "unfairly angry" at a child. We need to put on our thinking caps. We need to be fair. We need to not take things out on the kids, when they have no idea what baggage we are carrying which causes our angry reactions. Obviously if a child comes over like a big jerk and decides he's going to stomp on my foot deliberately with the desire to hurt me, I will get angry and I won't apologize for THAT. Or if he looks at me to see if I'm watching and takes a hammer to my prized ceramic kitty-cat just to make me upset, you can bet I'll oblige him with upset. But in this post, I am talking about anger which is unfair. Thanks for working through this with me. I do so love to think this stuff to death. :-) If it weren't past midnight I'd probably think about it some more. And I'd probably make more sense! But it is time for sleep.....z-z-z-z-z-
I would note the difference between feeling angry and acting out of anger. Parents shouldn't have to apologize for their feelings, nor should children. Anger is an emotion. Emotions are devoid of moral value. Both saints and sociopaths feel anger... it is action that defines existence. [End existentialist rant.]
There's also a good technique from Anthony Wolfe's Secret of Parenting that he calls "waiting for the bus". In the example with the socks, if he'd refused, I would have said "socks go down the chute. They don't belong in Daddy's spot." Then you wait. Patiently, calmly, boringly. As if you're waiting for the bus and don't have anything else on your mind. 9 times out of 10, they'll do it. In the 10th time, I'd probably ask (after 5 minutes or so): "Daddy doesn't want to sleep with your dirty socks. What can we do about this?" and let him answer.
The self-care stuff is harder - both of my kids went through a stage around 5 where they COULD get dressed, but didn't really want to do it by themselves. I found it easier to help then to fight about it. If you know he CAN put his outerwear on, that's all you need. Let the school fight that battle when it comes to it. They both came out of that stage right around 6.
Finally, is he competitive at all? Sometimes it works for me to ask my kids to race me -- can you get your boots on before I finish brushing my teeth ?
Exactly! My 4.5 year old loves to have me help him do things he is perfectly capable of doing...because he sees me do everything for the 2 year old, I think.
And the competitive thing works WONDERS for my boy! If he is digging in his heels on just about anything, we can say "I bet you can't do it by the time I count to X!" He loves to prove us wrong & give us high fives when he does.
Mom of 4
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