Summer is especially challenging when it comes to keeping your cool as a parent, literally and figuratively!! It’s much easier to jump in a pool, run under a sprinkler or head to the beach if you’re talking about regulating temperatures - but alas, that’s not what we’re here for! Keeping your cool when it comes to parenting is a whole other ball of wax!! It wasn’t until recently that my buttons are being pushed more frequently, for me that’s a product of my boys getting older and pushing each other’s buttons differently. My 4 year old is a bit of an instigator and likes to be the center of attention, so he’ll do just about anything to get his big brother riled up. They can go back and forth for quite some time playing and joking until eventually the games are no longer fun! Here’s how I try to keep it together when they’re tearing each other apart! (so to speak of course)....
- Warnings!! I’m pretty good at predicting when the turn of events is going to happen, so I try to head it off at the pass by warning the boys that one of them is going to end up crying. After about 3 or 4 of these I give up - they’ve heard me, now let the chips fall where they may.
- Redirection! I try to get them focused on a new interest - a game, a tv show, a book, a story that I’m telling...ANYTHING to get them to stop the madness that is taking place at the moment! Sometimes it works - did I mention the warnings?
- Back Up! There comes a time when my words are not sinking in and I just have to let the scenario play out without intervention...so I remove myself from the room (after trying all of my tactics) and let the chips fall where they may. I walk away from it and find something else to focus on. Eventually they’ll either resolve it or they’ll duke it out brother style. Which typically means one of them will emerge in tears.
Here’s the thing...I’ve been at this parenting thing for a while now and what I’ve learned is that I can’t control every situation. I have to be smart enough to know when I should be stepping in versus when I shouldn’t. Kids have to learn for themselves too, and if that means someone comes out crying, then so be it. As long as there’s no bloodshed and hanging limbs, it will all be okay in the end. Learning a life lesson is more important than me playing referee. I’ve become a master at backing up and walking away!!