Thursday, January 24, 2013

{Thanks}

Mailee has been struggling lately with being happy and recognizing all the good things she has.  Often, she can be found pouting over something that really shouldn't have any sort of  dramatic emotion spent on it.

She has been heard grumbling about doing tasks around the house she knows are things that must get done and come with being a part of a family, and in general has come off as being quite unpleasant and ungrateful to us as her parents, her siblings, and well...just life in general.

Monday the kids didn't have school and I had planned a fun day of activities and crafts to do with the kids.  Mailee came down to eat breakfast already in a "mood".  After the fourth eye roll I had had enough.  Is it just me, or do your kids always act up on days when you are excited to do something fun with them?  It's a test I tell you!

I had grown tired of repeating a list of things Mailee should be thankful for.  I knew then that in order for her to really think about being grateful and seeing the things she has, she would need to be the one to come up with the list.  So while the other two kids got to start on their crafts, Mailee was sent upstairs with the task to come up with 20 things she was thankful for.

Did she go upstairs willingly?  No.  Did she quickly finish?  No she took about an hour.  Once she came down I could tell she was 90% sorry about her actions - a far better percentage than when she went up.

We sat down and I had her read her list out loud to me.  We talked about each thing she listed in more detail, even the other 2 kids chimed in with some opinion/input, and soon the whole mood in the house had been changed.

I could tell that something clicked with her.  She saw her recent actions as something she needed to apologize for and pinky promised me (a double pinky promise actually) that she would do better with her attitude.

This exercise helped me as well.  I have found that every thing I try and teach my children and the exercises/consequences given to them are things I need to be doing too.

If I am rolling my eyes too many times, or need an attitude adjustment about life, making a list of things I am thankful for helps my mind and attitude switch to a different point of view.

 Sure I might dislike doing laundry, but I am glad that I have the people in my life who wear those clothes and the means to be able to have clothes, washer and dryer, electricity...see, it just keeps snowballing until you're so caught up in the things that you're thankful for, that the eye-rolling moment is forgotten, as it should be.

Monday was yet another parenting lesson learned from my children.  Have children in your life...they will teach you often.  Thanks children.
p.s.  Number 2 on Mailee's list is a favorite.  I don't think I've ever had Panda's on my thankful list...

5 comments:

The Pyper Fam said...

I need to remember this on days when my children are in 'moods'. You are awesome! And, yes, like you it is something I need to remember too. One of my goals (I usually don't make too many) of the new year was to have a gratitude journal and every night I write 5 things I am grateful for. Not a new idea, but it totally helps! :)

Sol said...

Wow that was tough love. Handled so well! a completely different style than I have witnessed in the supermarkets etc with other Mothers and children that are acting out. Really well handled. I will show my niece this, as she will like this for my great Niece and her 5 year old going on 25 year old attitude.

Eye rolls are only the starting point I am actually really irked by the thumb and finger being made in to an L (loser), that she does to my parents. Where do they get it from???!!!

Meg said...

This is just what my house needs today. Thanks for sharing a great idea!

Also, I feel the same way about laundry. My friend told me recently that while she was growing up, her mom would sing while she did the laundry to show her kids how much she loved it. Years later, her mom told them that she sang to show her kids how much she loved THEM because she hated doing laundry more than anything in the world. All about perspective!

Amy said...

SUCH a great idea! I am definitely going to use this! We had a house full of whining about this and that today since it's our big chore day.

Love what you said about us as parents needing attitude changes, too, though. I need to really remember that part ;)

Miriam Hermansen said...

love this my ava sometimes needs a bit of an attitude adjustment, which i let really affect me until i need an attitude adjustment, too. i think i'll try this for next time.