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Moments of enlightenment...

Someone once said that the definition of stupidity is repeating the same action over and over and expecting a different outcome...

I think this is the lesson of the year for me. In so many facets of my life I can see I've done just this, kept pushing on with old behaviours hoping the outcomes would change because changing my behaviour would mean letting go of something that felt good to me...

The two most obvious aspects of my life in which I do this are my physical wellbeing, and my parenting.

I have long struggled with my weight and fitness, and basically because I wanted to believe there was a shortcut to losing weight and that you could achieve fitness without using your body much... Silly, I lnow, and like most people in my position, I know exactly how to lose weight and gain fitness, I just want things to be magically different for me!

But G0d or Mother Nature or whoever you like just did not design the human body to sit around eating while the world passes them by...

Same with parenting. Being basically lazy (see above), I've long hoped for "easy, placid, compliant" children. Children aren't supposed to be easy. placid and compliant, they're supposed to be full of energy, questions, and spunk. They innately know their bodies are for using, even if I want to deny that fact.

It may feel good to me, in the instant, to throw a temper tantrum when they're not letting me sit around watching the world pass by, but how can I expect them not to follow suit. They learn how to interact with the world through my example.

Dave and I have long been in the practice of yelling and threatening to get out way with the boys, but this must always escalate because they slowly learn to be more defiant, despite their own fear. It has ruined our relationship with them, I mean really affected it badly. Our older boys have become frustratingly sneaky, and defiant, but also they overreact to perceived threats - high pitched and constant screaming, tantrums to rival any two year old (in fact, I suspect their emotional development has been retarded by our dealings with them)... Certainly, what worked in a mild for at age two, does not work in a more extreme form at ages four and six!!! Like lice exposed to harsh chemicals, their exoskeletons have toughened up, and we risk losing them completely within their protective layer *against us*!

So these past few days we've come to acknowledge that we've been really stupid by the definition given at the top of this page, and time has come to just accept that our old strategies aren't working, even for us, anymore... We've been trying to support each other in not raising our voices or threatening the boys, it is hard, and sometimes you just have to accept that you can't MAKE them do some things - I think that is the hardest thing, actually, accepting you can't control your children, either through being "nice" or being "mean" because if they're determined to do something they'll find a way to do it, even if you don't find out until afterwards...

These moments of enlightenment, where I've had to just "accept" the reality of how things work have left me feeling a little deflated, the truth is, I like being lazy and getting things my own way all the time, I REALLY like it, but well, it's just an illusion, isn't it?..

Comments

Leah said…
I can relate to much of what you've said cause on the spectrum of lazy to energetic, I'm not energetic :) Like I was saying to you the other day, my current use of the magic "1, 2, 3" is magic because it gives both of us a deadline - her to cooperate, me to follow through. I need to deadline to ensure I do what I say, otherwise it is easy to not follow thru or just escalate to yelling etc.

They are lucky boys to have parents willing to keep working on their relationship. I know sometimes we think of parenting as somewhat different to other relationships in that we tend to be "outcome oriented" - how our kids behave now or grow up as adults is the product. But really, at the end of the day it is just a relationship and there is almost always the capacity to improve and heal what we have with each other. Can't deny their are special repsonsibilities to our kids we don't have for other people, but our relationship should be our first priority.

*big hugs*
katef said…
Wow that was some immensly honest and out there stuff.... your boys are lucky to have parents who stop and think and look at themselves to change rather than still lament the same old things in 30 years time.

I think your words are a wake up call to a lot of us... i know I saw some of myself in what you wrote, so hoepfully all of our relathionships with our kids will be the better for your wisdom!

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