November 20, 2014

Distraction: A Parent's Best Friend?

Distraction. A Good thing?

For many of us that like to attempt multi-tasking everything and running around trying to do too much, distraction may not be a good thing. We need to prioritize and know what is most important so we can stay on track doing what matters most and not trying to keep up with everything someone else thinks we should be doing.

And yet, I stick with my title of this post. Why?

My husband actually mentioned this tonight while struggling to feed our kids. And I thought..."that's my next post." So let's look at "distraction" from another perspective....

  • Dilemna: My two-year old child is trying to climb up the hutch in the kitchen because she sees her big brother on top (put there by Dad for fun---that's another story). Little girl can't get up: throwing tantrum. (I'm thinking: "Not way are you getting up there girl! Not going to happen.)
  • Distraction: "Nellie want to wrestle/dance with Dad?" --Boom! and she's off to the living room, delighted with a new quest she can conquer!
  • Dilemna: My four year old will not eat his dinner and he's too tired to focus on eating (don't even get me started...bane of my existence!). (I'm thinking: "You will eat what I made you. Dang it. It's not moldy. Won't make you sick. So please...just eat it! Now.")
  • Distraction: "You're growing dragon scales! Woah!" Those peas must be making you turn into a dragon! Crazy!" *giggles from said four year old. Followed by serious pea-popping and more giggles. "Am I growing wings?"*

These are the moments we face daily: Struggles and discipline? Or trips of fantasy and adventure into a world of your/their own creation? Excitement, enthusiasm and joy fill their little minds....

So, I admit, I feel extremely left-brained at times; but I have to say that homeschooling is sure good at making me step out of my left-brained world and more fully accept a creative and fun approach to life and learning with my kids. I still yell and get annoyed more than I should at kids' imperfections, but I'm getting better at understanding their limits (mentally especially). Kids need things simple and direct, without baggage and blame. They need rules, but not guilt. They feel consequences...without too much explanation. We as moms are guides: placing good examples in their path and helping them see true principles and feel the beauty and meaning of them in their own time and way. The children will draw their own conclusions when they are ready.

So, one thing to help provide our kids with distractions is awareness: What does your child love? What do they need? How do they feel? Do they feel loved? (Are we paying attention to our kids on a deeper level? Are we holding them and telling them we love them? Do they feel they are special and know their real worth?)

Love and gratitude are the two most important things in the world (if you haven't heard of the rice experiement, try it out. Love and gratitude are powerful words/feelings). I view them as being first, that which is given/received; followed by second, the mirroring of that which was given/received. So combined, love and gratitude come full-circle into a complete fullness of feeling. If we are without one, most likely we aren't experiencing either to the full extent possible.

That said; one thing I detest is whining. Can't stand it. Will not tolerate it in my house. And Ethan knows it. Drives me up the wall! I'm serious. I don't know why my whine-tolerance levels are completely whack; but I hate, hate, hate whining with a passion (can you tell?).

So, Ethan knows that whining will not get him anything but an angry mom. And this angry mom yells when pushed to "strike three." (which I'm working on) He also knows that whining is not being grateful. And being grateful is a huge focus at our house! (I'm still meaning to make a wall-hanging on wood that says something about love and gratitude...but my crafty-intelligence hasn't completely caught up with that thought yet. Alas.)

I try to teach principles, and then discipline according to such rules; but sometimes kids just need distraction if they aren't "getting it." So when we come across whining in our day and principles/logic just aren't working, I will use distraction/creativity....
  • Dilemna: "I want juice!" (I'm thinking: "No you can't drink sugar junk all day, you already hyper monster!"
  • Distraction: "This magic bottle is a laughing potion. It starts with a smile and gets bigger and bigger until..." *then giggles start and we sit and eat lunch together talking about potions and Elsa in Frozen or something (everything goes back to that movie right now)."

So, why am I rambling about this? Well, it has been very handy for my own kids and also helped me be more patient with others' kids who may be low on the gratitude spectrum. And it's sure better for me too, when I'm trying to figure out how best to cope with annoying and imperfect little behaviors. Afterall, I am a mom of soon-to-be three. So I better learn coping mechanisms for my own sanity. And I think an adventure-beyond-reality is a good way to go for the kid in all of us. I need to laugh things off (like a pressure cooker with a release valve. Don't let it stick too tight--in reality and explanations--but let a little imagination keep the valve a-bouncin'. Then pressure and stress can dissipate).

(btw....I write all these posts because I need them for myself. So if anyone is getting value from them--fabulous!. If not...I don't really care, because they really are for me anyway. :) So don't judge me too harshly for them. They are mine. And I'm just a mom trying to get my thoughts and feelings out for my own sanity. And lucky you (or unlucky) are privy to the intricate workings of my mind.

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