Sounds simple advice doesn’t it? But in reality parenting on a daily basis causes mums and dads across the world to hold their hands up in exasperation. On some days it’s easy to feel like you’re sinking in quicksand and no matter what you say to your child it seems to go in one ear and out the other.
My temper is short and Roo and I clash. We always have. Even when I was married there used to be times when I would despair at how I was supposed to control my temper whilst disciplining my child. Saturday morning was a morning of exasperation and door slamming. Roo was tired after her exertions at Legoland and began throwing a tantrum because I’d told her that a pirate costume she wanted was out of stock. It’s easy to forget that she is only five and a half sometimes as a barrage of hurtful words rolled out of her mouth. From things such as “I don’t want you as my mum” to “you’re stupid and know nothing and that’s why daddy doesn’t want you” whilst they may be words that have no context in her world they are still words that hurt.
In reality though I am the grown up and I am supposed to know better and demonstrate better. I didn’t. I snapped and it ended in tears and her leaving the house with her dad upset and me crying on the sofa for the best part of an hour feeling like a totally worthless excuse for a parent.
Fast forward to Sunday afternoon and the Disney classic Lilo & Stitch was on. One of our favourite movies we made a den on the floor, ate popcorn and snuggled. Roo held my hand, cuddled me and all the drama of Saturday had been forgotten. Lilo & Stitch is a pretty poignant movie. Holding a strong message that no matter what family matters. Whilst watching the famous scene where Lilo and her sister are screaming at each and clashing and Lilo runs to her room and screams at frustration into a pillow Roo turned to me.
“Mummy, it would be a much better idea if instead of shouting at each other when we’re cross we went to our rooms and screamed in our pillows until we calmed down.”
Again, I have to remind myself she’s only five. Wisdom clearly starts young and I smiled and said what a good idea. Subsequently after the movie we sat down. We talked about behaviour what is good, what is bad. How can we be better at not getting mad at each other. What did we come up with in our little bonding session? Well our four family rules. Four little promises we’ve made to each other. Things we won’t do and things we will do and always most importantly to THINK about things before we say anything if we’re cross.
Here are our promises. Do you have something like this in your house and how do you manage your tempers when it all gets tense?