A Battle of Epic Proportions: Mom vs. 5 year old.
A few weeks back some of you witnessed my tears on Instagram that were a result of me questioning my parenting during a standoff between my 5 year old son and I.
The yelling, the screaming, the slamming doors and hurtful shade thrown my way by my Kindergartener was out of the ordinary for us and has really made me reflect on the situation from start to finish. I dont know if I did the right thing, I dont know if we both learned something from this event but I figured I would share the wise tips I received from my best friend and how I implemented them.
Where it all began.
Unfortunately my kids do things to "bother" each other. Daily. This usually ends up with one in tears and the other in time out. On this particular day we were dealing with non stop bugging one another and I was at my limit. I said "one more time and I will be taking you up to your room without warning". It wasnt 5 minutes before it happened again, the whining, the grabbing and the he said he said it was the straw that broke the camels back.
I calmly walked over, took my son by the hand and without saying a word lead him straight to his room. He screamed the entire way and reluctantly followed me.
Once in his room I let him know that his poor choices had consequences and that I made it clear that if it happened again time would be spent in his room.
I walked away. He screamed, a scream like I have never heard before. The door slammed shut, opened and slammed shut again. The hurtful "I dont ever want to hug you again" and the "I dont like you" and the biggest threat of them all "you cant come to my birthday party" came out of his mouth. All the while I stood outside his door and calmly let him know that his words hurt my feelings and that I was very sorry to hear that he didnt like me any more.
I know some of you may think that by not acknowledging the slamming the doors and screaming I am enabling the behavior but hear me out.
Kids have BIG emotions and they, like us need an outlet for when they are frustrated, sad or angry. They dont understand these big emotions and as long as he isnt hurting himself the outlet of screaming and slamming doors is ok in my books....... for now.
Diffusing the Situation
Once I was able to get a word in edge wise, I let him know that when he was calm and quiet that I would know that he is ready to talk. He knows exactly what it means to be quiet and calm those are words he understands and I did not want to take away from the feelings he was having at that time. I wanted him to express his emotions the way he felt he needed to but that when he was ready calming his body and voice would signal that he was ready to talk.
I wish it was that simple. The screaming and yelling continued for a good 15 minutes. I covered my ears, I bit my tongue and I cried. I cried at his emotions, at his words and the sheer frustration. Why was my sweet 5 year old turning in to a monster. Where did I go wrong in my parenting? How can I not know how to calm this child down, it is my job to deal with his age group and to understand their needs? Did I suck at my job too? All the negative self talk was happening on top of my child being in a state I had never seen before.
I couldnt take it anymore. I could not sit outside his room and cry. I walked away. I walked straight to be my bedroom, sat on the bed and called my mom. I cried in to the phone that I felt like a failure, that I didnt understand what was happening or why. She assured me I was doing the right thing, that not giving in was the right thing to do. She could hear him on the other end of the line and even she couldnt believe the screaming coming from him.
I got off the phone and felt the need to share my #momlife struggles with everyone so I jumped online. I had tears in my eyes as I explained that it wasnt all sunshine and rainbows at my house that day and that I was so defeated. I cant thank everyone enough for their comments and support that day, it really truly helped me power through one of my toughest parenting moments.
During the time I spent in my bedroom trying to pull myself together, something happening. It went silent. The yelling stopped. The screaming stopped. I wiped my eyes and walked to his bedroom. I bent down beside his bed, put my hand on his back took a deep breath and said "I know you are ready to talk now because it is nice and calm in here".
In The End
We talked about how for every poor action there is a consequence and that its ok to be mad or sad or angry but that slamming doors is not ok. Instead use a pillow or your matress or a stuffed animal. We talked about how to deal with situations with his brother a bit better and a few other things. I offered him a hug and he melted in to my arms. He almost feel asleep from exhaustion.
It was over. Had I won this battle? Did I do more damage? Did I make an impact on him?
I know that parenting is trial and error and that we all feel like sometimes we just cant handle it but I wanted to share this experience again because looking back at this night, I fell asleep actually feeling like a good mom. It took everything in me to be calm, to use the tools I had been given and to not lose my cool.
From mom fails to mom wins I am constantly doubting myself or second guessing my choices and I am sure that it will be that way for the rest of my life but I wanted to share this story with you so that if you are ever doubting yourself or find yourself in tears like I did know that you've got this and you are doing the best you can!