He cried when he opened his present. Actual real tears running down his cheeks.
Nope, not tears of happiness.
To him, Santa betrayed him.
Not more than 2 seconds after they hop in the car, the screaming begins.
“No, that’s not what happened Erik. My lunch is at 11:35am, not 11:30.”
I brace myself.
“NO SISSY! YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOUR TALKING ABOUT”
And then, WHAP!
He reaches his little arm across the space in the bucket seats between them and hits her.
“Erik, DON’T HIT ME!!!”
That’s when I intervene.
I don’t know how school bus drivers do it. How do you discipline 30 kids when you’re trying to keep safe and focus on not veering your large yellow, monstrosity off the road
I’m in a Toyota Highlander with only two children and I’m ready to lose my mind.
In the corner of my family room sits my daughter’s backpack, dance bag, coat and her backpack from last year that she refuses to throw away.
Oh my goodness. I’ve asked her ten times to clean up this pile.
I feel as if a huge fist is squeezing my stomach. My shoulders knot up.
My nine-year-old daughter sighed and stared out the car window at the glow of the street lamps. I could hear the annoyance in her voice.
“I don’t want to talk about it”
Ugh… roadblock. And it had been such a tame conversation.
She told me about how the class had to write a lot that night. Writing during dance class? Totally weird to me. So, I asked her,
“What did you have to write during dance class?”
Bam Total shut down. She clammed up. I had asked one too many questions.
“Ok. That’s fine.” I clenched my jaw. I asked one simple question. Why did she have to treat me like this?
Then, she turned me and said, “I’m sorry.” Not a heartfelt, “I’m sorry.” Rather, the apology dripped with guilt and fear that she had deeply offended me and didn’t want me to be mad at her.
I stared at the complicated chore chart that my dad placed on our refrigerator.
42 cents for washing dishes. 20 cents for picking up my room.
When he first pitched this idea to my 10-year-old self, I wanted to do all the chores immediately.
This was my chance to earn $5 a week. Yes, I could do this!
So, I did the dishes. It took me 20 minutes and I didn’t even get enough money to buy a can of soda. Wouldn’t it be simpler to pull that red can of Coke out of our fridge?
That week, I completed a few boxes of chores from that monster list, collected my $1.15 and then ignored the list the next week.
Soon, the chore chart disappeared.
It was 6:30 AM on the first day back to school last year. I put my hand on my daughter’s fluffy floral comforter and shook her.
Gently, of course.
OK… OK… it was harder this time. Because this was the fifth time I walked into her room that morning to pull her from bed. This morning was close to becoming a chaotic mess.
My son stomps into my office upstairs. I’m staring at the computer trying to figure out what to write next.
His face is full pout.
“MOM! I told them I need a break!”
Uh oh. Usually when this happens, he’s prepping me for something – trying to convince me that he’s on the right side.
It’s a fight. I can feel it.
“Mom, can I invite a friend over today?”
I hesitate. I want her to be able to invite friends over, but today is simply jam packed.
Nope. Not today.
Five minutes later. “Mom, can I have a playdate?”
What the…? Didn’t I just answer this same question five minutes earlier?
My daughter used to leave the kitchen table and throw herself on the couch.
“I can’t DO it,” she wailed, “It’s TOO hard.”
Every afternoon became a neverending negotiation – one I dreaded.
I just wanted to pour myself a glass of wine and hide in the closet.
What do you do at that point?
You know you need to change something with your kid’s behavior.
Maybe your kids are fighting.
Perhaps you want them to be kinder.
Or maybe, you just want them to pick up all the LEGO’s off the floor after playing so you don’t have to experience one between your toes again.
Whatever it is a simple reward system might do the trick.