I feel like a failure for being three years into this parenting thing and not knowing what to do a lot of the time. Like, how do I correct bad behavior? Usually, I would just yell at Choo-choo for yelling at me or for whining and it would turn into a big shouting match. Not good. Not good at all.
I have received all kinds of advice on how to deal with parenting issues, but it seems I was terrible at putting them into practice. I am a visual person. I always remember what I see much more than I hear. My therapist had recommended some parenting websites to me in hopes that would help.
Oh my goodness, it did! I found a lot of worksheets and print-outs that re-emphasized what I had been told but in something I could physically see and feel. Me being me, I organized it all into a binder, each page divided and arranged by category or topic.
What I have been trying very recently is the “Planned Ignoring and Attending.” The attending is the easy part. Praising Choo-choo for good behavior, noticing when he does what he is supposed to and what he is asked to do. Easy peasy.
The planned ignoring? Not so much.
My blood pressure rises every time Choo-choo whines, screams, yells, and cries, as does my stress levels. My immediate, knee-jerk reaction is to yell back. I don’t know why. I wish I did as this would make things easier I believe. But then I found those worksheets. Ignore the screams, it essentially told me. Don’t acknowledge him until he calms down.
I had been doing this at bedtime with pretty good results. I decided to start incorporating this technique into the rest of our day. It’s a little hit and miss right now, but things are improving, I am happy to say. My son seems to calm down sooner and to a better mood if I ignore the yelling as opposed to yelling back. And anytime I feel myself slipping into my old habits, I know I have a binder full of help to look at whenever I need it.
I do need to work on this with Diesel, as he hasn’t read the worksheets and doesn’t know the technique yet, but we will get there.