Parenting is hard. It is no cliche, it is the hardest job there is. No child is going to comply completely to every demand, and often there lies the battle you begin to lose. I was a yeller back when all of my kids lived in my home. This past year has proved to be a year of growth for all of us, and with that came the realization, on my part, that I had to stop.
In this past year, with all of the things we have dealt with, my own pain issues and their Autism, we have not had one single argument between my kids. We have not had a single true meltdown in my home. This is amazing, considering I have twin boys who share a room. Yet, I still found myself at times occasionally yelling at these little people for little things.
My kids are not perfect. I often get an eye roll or a smart remark when I ask for the unloading of a dishwasher. I would think that is to be expected. They are almost teenagers, and this is really my largest battle. I never have a discipline issue. Yet, I found myself yelling out of frustration.
This past year was a hard year. I got phone calls Matthew was banging his head on his desk in class and laughing uncontrollably because he could not keep up in class. He was bored and over stimulated. Samuel was skipping class altogether, curled up on the floor of a bathroom stall. So, I got a little attitude about a dish washer. My kids are good kids. We do not have this behavior at home. Ever.
I am pretty sure it was the phone call from the school with a stressed out teacher telling me she was at the end of her rope with my son banging his head in her class that kind of told me we had to make changes, now. I really wish it had not come to that point, but it did. I had no idea this was going on until I got that call. Their entire life is stressful. I was just adding on to it. My boys were honestly unhappy.
In so many ways, my family has grown so much. We went from kids who rocked and screamed to kids who destroyed walls and doors in our home. They broke lamps and ran purposefully into walls. We had overcome all of that, and I seemed to have forgotten and I was yelling things like, “Don’t roll your eyes at me, just do the dishes.” In the grand scheme of things, this is really silly. I hate unloading the dishwasher, too.
So, we do this new thing now. I get a hug when everyone gets up, I get random hugs during the day, and I get hugs at night. The difference is, I no longer ask for one. We all just do it. When Lizzie gets up in the morning, (or the afternoon, it is summer time) the first thing I say is, “Goodmorning, sweetie.” I usually get an eye roll. I say, “Hey, buddy, how was your night,” first thing to the boys, and I get a hug. I am not even sure how we used to greet each other. It may have always been that way, I just notice it more now.
Kids have a lot of stress. Especially kids who cannot keep up. Even more so for kids who are aware they cannot keep up. Home should not be a place that adds to that stress. There should not be a battle for control.
My kids still unload the dishwasher and take out the trash. I am sure they still roll their eyes. We also added some laundry duties to the chore list. The funny thing is that now, I get asked if I need help when I am cleaning. They are also a huge help in cooking and baking. The blogs where they have recipes they made up, they really asked to do it, and it really was their idea. We do all of these things as a family now. And I am no longer a yeller.
Don’t forget to pick up a tee shirt! I designed it myself.