Fire breathing dragon

The power that words can have over us is amazing. For example, yesterday my kids were in an argumentative tattling mood, trading snide remarks back and forth, until 7 year old Jessica informed me that her 8 year old brother has been telling everyone that he ‘doesn’t like me’ and ‘wants to live with dad’. Then proceeded to repeat the insult at least 10 more times. I was shocked into silence, then realized I shouldn’t be shocked. After all, he had just written a story that featured me as a fire breathing dragon.

I was very quiet for a while (pouting, yes I’ll admit it) until my two year old started rubbing my arm and generously asked if I needed to borrow her blankie again. Then I decided to act like an adult, but only after making a tearful phone call to my mother. Wow I can really be such a child sometimes.

I did some soul searching and realized that the fire breathing dragon portrayal was actually fairly accurate. In all honesty I didn’t really like living with myself either. I have been short tempered and impatient, mainly due to extra stress but children don’t understand that. So, out came the parenting books. Again.

At one point I was reading ‘siblings without rivalry’ downstairs while the 8&7 year olds were having a shouting match upstairs. Oh, the irony.

‘Never expect in the child a degree of perfection which one rarely finds even in a grown person’-Nikki Gemmell is the brilliant lady who wrote that. That really hit home at 3am as I sat wide awake analyzing where I went wrong. I have always been such a perfectionist, very hard on myself. And apparently my kids as well.

So today I made sure to keep my voice calm, and use a respectful tone.  I’m making myself keep track of any times where I raise my voice. I am trying not to nag them constantly about cleaning up their messes or taking care of their dishes, etc. Also, I have been making myself say three positive comments to make up for one negative one. At first I thought I was going to have to give out I.O.U’s. for positive remarks but it definitely makes me think before I speak.

And I did notice a difference. We were all much happier and the kids got along better. Well, for the most part anyways but at least I didn’t overreact and make their arguments worse. Baby steps to overcoming perfectionism. And maybe in my son’s next story I will be featured as the beautiful princess instead of the dragon.


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