Friday, May 20, 2011

Finding the "Reset" Button

We’ve all been there- our child is having a bad day and is whining, crying, throwing fits, purposely misbehaving, and overall just grinding on our nerves. I have found that there are two ways of dealing with such days. The first is the more stressful one, which is butting heads and fighting with your child all day. The second is to try to change the day.
The former, of course, is the “easier” way because it doesn’t take any intentional actions for us to just continue with the day. However, fighting with your child all day long is draining and exhausting- for you and your child. None of us want to have to keep correcting behavior and argue all day, at least I don’t.
The latter is the alternative. It doesn’t always work and it is not the “easy” route, but it is always worth a shot. I have found that even kids just have bad days. There doesn’t have to be any particular reason. The wonderful thing is that we can try to change that for them.
I’ll give you an example: My daughter was in an awful mood the other day. She didn’t want to eat, she didn’t want to go outside, she kept taking toys away from her brother, etc. It’s almost as if her mood kept spiraling further down. And with it went my mood and my energy. After the third time-out of the morning for hitting her baby brother, we were both exhausted and unhappy.
That’s when I had an idea. I told myself to STOP. Forget everything that had happened so far, take a deep breath, press the reset button, and start things off again with a clean slate. What I mean by this is that I put all my bad feelings away and made myself forget about the hours that had passed, so I wouldn’t be resentful. And I wouldn’t be expecting more bad behavior or an unhappy child.
It worked. My daughter reacted to my better mood by being happier again. Then I tried to redirect her energy to something she loves doing. The day got so much better! My daughter was so much happier!
So, if you can, try to take a minute to gather yourself and start the day over by finding your own reset button and you can change things for the better. (Works with your spouse, too…)

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