Living life in the carpool lane..

Learning as I go…

Posted on: April 16, 2015

Yesterday, I talked about the phase of life M and I are experiencing together.

Today, let’s make a list of things I’ve learned when dealing with life as a mother to a threenager…

Don’t stay mad
I’m the type of person to hold grudges.  I’m type of person that tends to stay mad.  However, M isn’t.  She goes from super defiant to super cuddly in the matter of minutes.  I have to learn to follow her lead.  Why would I stay mad when she’s trying to be a good girl?  It’s outside my comfort zone, but I know that staying mad when she is passed the moment doesn’t do anything but cause stress for both of us.

Walk away
I do this when things get really bad.  I make sure she’s in a safe location, and I step away beyond her line of sight.  I’m always only a few steps away, but when she can’t see me, it’s a pretty big deal.  Two things can happen when I walk away.  One, she cries harder.  Two, she calms down, gets up and looks for me.  Stepping away not only helps her (sometimes), it helps me.  Stepping away for awhile helps me take a breather, maybe silently scream to myself, and regroup.

Hug
In the midst of M’s tantrums, she often goes in for a hug.  Sometimes I know she’s just deflecting.  Other times, I know she really feels bad and sincerely needs a hug.  I always make sure I don’t deny her of her hugs.  If I know she’s deflecting, I make sure to take a hold of her, and before I bring her in, I bring her face to my face, and I try to talk things out with her.  Then once I get my message across, I bring her in for the hug.  Other times, when I know that she really needs the hug, I swallow my anger, and bring her in.  It’s while we are hugging that I start to talk to her about what happened and how to fix it.  Sometimes, hugging her is hard when I’m right in the middle of feeling angry and frustrated.  However, I know that no matter how mad I feel, I’m still her mother and she needs me for comfort, even if I’m the one that seems to be causing her tears.

Break the cycle
Some days, it feels like all I do is reprimand her.  I feels like it’s one thing after another and all we do is go back and forth with each other.  Some days it seems like she’s in tears all day.  It’s days like those that I find ways to break the monotony of frustration by finding ways to praise her.  During moments of calm, I find little ways to show her she is a good girl.  I find little tasks that she can do for me so I can praise her on how well she is listening to me.  I tell her to sing a song to her sister.  I tell her to pick something up for me.  I ask her to help me out with something.  It’s those little things that break the cycle of our fighting and can sometimes lead to a calm rest of the day.  This is something I learned to do recently.  I got tired of the constant tears and I wanted to find a way to start making her feel good about herself after having a rough day.

So far, these are the things I’ve learned with dealing with “M the Threenager.”  I know as the months go by, I’ll learn more things about how to deal.  M and I are both learning.  I just wish it didn’t involve a lot of raised voices and tears!

What have you learned about dealing with your “threenager?”

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