I talked to my son last night before he went to sleep about energy. You see, my son has a lot of it and with his tall physique and strength, he can do some damage if he wanted. My son uses his energy well most of the time. He loves to show you how fast he can run and how much he can dig in the sandbox.
I want to believe that my son understood what I was trying to say, but I would ask him to explain what I said and a slightly different version would come out. So then I turned the focus on me. Everyone experiences anger and frustration, but you learn how to harness those feelings to channel them into something useful. In the morning before work, I run on the treadmill. I also meditate, take walks, talk to others and try to find something that makes me laugh. I explained to him my approach to those feelings. We practiced how he would approach his teacher if he was feeling this way and needed that time to himself. My goal was to help him to understand that these feeling are natural, but lashing out is never the right reaction.
But let's me honest here. I am not the best role model for using my energy. Sometimes when I get frustrated, I shout, I stomp my feet, I slam a door or I say things that I should not say. This experience of helping my son is making me focus on what I am doing as a person as well. My actions speak louder than my words. As my son tries to find the right approach for him, I have to use this opportunity to think about what I am demonstrating.
My son is four now. We talk about him being four all of the time. He is about to change rooms at his preschool and he is excited since several of his friends are already there.
When you are a parent, you get excited when you see positive changes in your child's behavior. His pull-up has been dry every day and night for three days. It's like a light bulb when off and he is suddenly getting it. He has been making good decisions when we are out in public. For instance, we were in a toy store this weekend where he could play while I shopped. I gave him a five minute, two minute and one minute warning about us leaving. When I announced that it was time to go, he stood up and said, OK. That never happened before. I was so proud.
Sometimes though his behavior suddenly turns on a dime and all the positive changes go out the window. You try to stay consistent and hold the line, but then you get tired. What did I do wrong?
This morning we went to a birthday party. As we walked up the stairs to the house, his behavior immediately turned even though I reminded him constantly in the car how to act. He screamed, he punched, he hit, he pushed, he ran from me, etc. It was like he became another person compleletely as he crossed the threshold. With every mis-step, I took away a day of TV time. He officially lost 7 days of TV time in that one hour.
Tomorrow I return to work and he returns to preschool. Our life gets back on its normal schedule. We need that. We need routine. And dare I say it, we need some time apart. The two of us have been inseparable for most of the holiday. For the past two days, it's only been the two of us. My social kid finally got some social interaction besides me and when he got it, he was so excited he could not calm down.
I don't know. Right now it just feels like we two huge steps forward in many things and this morning, we just fell down and watched it crash all around us. I need to go to work.