1.12.2015

Motivational Monday: Validation

Today's Motivational Monday has a parenting twist but trust me, it can be applied to so many different avenues of life.

Yesterday the proverbial light bulb went off in my head. This was after hours of grumbling, whining, and just plain old belly aching from darling daughter. Dinner was approaching, we had had a great, eventful day, and I was ready to send her to her room until she could find something nice to say. In fact, I stated as much as I felt my annoyance level increasing. She whined she wanted to be with me and the last thing I wanted to do at that moment was cuddle a complaining little girl. But instead of reacting I choose to respond.

I looked at her knowing that time out's never work. Things just escalate instead of diffuse. In fact, most time out's I call are because I need a breather before tackling the issue at hand. I am blessed that my child is good natured the vast majority of the time but when she isn't, watch out! That Irish and Scottish blood comes boiling out of her ears and I still remember the day when she was 3 or 4, in a time out, me calmly telling her she can come out of her room when she settles down, and her screaming back "I don't know how!". Anger control - that is a lesson even some adults are still aiming to master and her insight has changed things along the way. My goal shifted on that day to helping her unwind and calm herself down. To teach her these valuable life skills.

Back to yesterday, my whining, complaining little girl obviously had a lot of her mind and in a calm voice I said, "Okay, how about you ask for a Belly Aching Minute? You can belly ache all you want for one minute, I will listen, and then you need to stop when the minute is up." She said okay and we started the timer on my phone. For the first few seconds she just whined a bit so I suggested using some words. She then went on with her belly aching while watching the time count up. At 55 seconds she grew silent and looked at my phone. I told her she had 5 more seconds. She stopped the timer at 57 seconds.

I then sat her on my lap and started to talk. She started to complain some more and I reminded her that her time was up and now it was mine. I didn't try to fix one thing. Instead I repeated back what was bothering her even if some of the claims seemed silly. I told her I understood it must be hard going back to school after a fun three weeks off when you know everything and there is nothing more to learn. That it must be tough having a bunny that only scratches you, a bird that doesn't eat its greens, and a fish that is dumb (poor little fish). I gave her a hug and said if she ever needed to grumble again ask for the minute. I told her some days I may have to say not right now but I will give her the minute....always.

We hugged and I realized my girl was tired. That gives her no right to be disrespectful but I take my part seriously. I did literally pull her out of bed early that morning in attempts to get her back on her school sleep schedule. I knew she would be tired come bedtime and she was. She wanted her "sucky" time on the couch, which just means, cuddle with her "Mommy blanket" but also wanted to be by me. I had to get dinner ready so I pulled a chair over, put her on it with her blanket, and she cuddled by me while I made dinner.

In all reality, all I did was choose to respond versus react. I chose not to lash out but to listen. I thank God for the wisdom of the Belly Aching Minute and plan to implement in again in the future as needed. She just wanted to feel heard and I think we can all understand that. Sometimes we all just need our feelings validated even if they are not 100% true. They are still feelings. She will learn at school, the bunny doesn't just scratch her, the bird does refuse to eat his greens, and perhaps the fish isn't the smartest in the world but who knows --- he may be a genius betta and who am I to judge?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful last night didn't turn into a power struggle.
Daily Bible Verse: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." ~ Joshua 1:9

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