So last night on my way home from work I listened to the chapter regarding the second love language: words of affirmation. And it was with great sadness that I heard a lot of the negatives that I give in to when speaking to my children.
I’ll admit I’m quick to frustration. And when I get frustrated, I get loud. And as a result, my own children get very loud when they are frustrated – with each other, with me, with Denis. It’s a bad cycle that needs to be broken.
In a lot of ways I do well with this love language. I’m quick to verbally tell my children I love them, and praise them when they do well at something. I assure them that they will ALWAYS have my love, even when they do something wrong. I assure them that my love will never go away. But that’s obviously not enough. Sure, it’s easy to be affirming when all is well.
But what about when things aren’t so good? When they are deliberately disobeying me? When they are fighting with each other? When they are being rude to those around them. It’s at that point that it’s most important that I think before I speak. Fortunately, I’ve never said truly harsh things such as calling them names, or telling them they are stupid. However, I do admit that in anger I’ve said things I regret – words of condemnation. I know many times I’ve lost my temper and began yelling. About silly things. Unimportant things. Things that, in a year, won’t really matter (seriously, does it REALLY matter that CG picked out a different shirt that doesn’t match the pants I picked out? REALLY?).
And so this is one I’ll need to work on. I need to concentrate on speaking more words of affirmation (more than I already attempt) and being more constructive with my word choices when I’m disciplining them for various infractions. I need to be less loud, and focus on being polite. Maybe then they’ll do the same.
Last night Denis and The Boy were at Cub Scouts, and so I was home alone with CG. When it came time for bed, I asked her nicely to go upstairs, get on her pjs, brush her teeth and pick out a book for us to read together. I told her that I’d be done with whatever I was doing by the time she was done. She stalled, and eventually said no. I reiterated my request, very calmly. Again, she disobeyed and said no. I then calmly told her, “CG, I’m asking very nicely, and you need to obey me. I do not want to lose my temper and get upset with you. You know what I’m like when I get upset. So please go upstairs and get ready for bed.” She looked at me for a minute, gauging my seriousness, and finally went upstairs to get ready for bed. As I heard the her finish brushing her teeth, I went upstairs and was waiting by the time she got back to her room. No arguing, no fighting – just me being calm, and her responding (eventually). We read a book together, spent a few minutes talking, I told her I loved her, and then gave her a hug and kiss good night after we said prayers. A nice way to finish the day. So I’m hopeful that she’ll REMEMBER how well it ended, and do it again. Because most nights it’s a battle getting them upstairs and ready for bed. Once they are in bed they are peachy, but the getting into pjs and brushing teeth part can take forever. But last night it was perfect. So I’m aiming for that perfection again tonight.
Lack of yelling works. I need to do that more often.
Next up: Quality Time. Something we strive for and do a lot around here. Unfortunately, it’s almost always Denis with CG and me with CB. We need to change that up more.