Last night at the dinner table the kids are whining that I get to go to class and they have to go to bed. I tell them that I am learning to be a better parent. I asked them if they noticed that I hadn't been yelling at them this past week. Sarah said "you've been yelling at us since we were babies". That created a few giggles from the children but it broke my heart into teeny tiny pieces.
Just that morning I was upset with the kids for not getting into the car and putting their seatbelts on. The two neighbor girls showed up. They have been being bullied on the bus and the driver hasn't been able to put an end to it. So they ride with us and I'm glad to do it.
The oldest girl looks at me and says "bad day, huh?" I didn't reply and repeated to everyone to get in the car and put their seatbelts on. Once settled down and everyone buckled I started off to get our next passenger - a preschool friend of my daughter. The neighbor girls proceeded to tell me that they had been naughty the night before and made their mom cry. The mom threatened to leave them and not come back. I was in disbelief. I said "I don't think she meant it - she was just using a threat to make you behave." But the girls were convinced that she actually meant it. They started telling me how their parents were abused when they were little by their parents.
When we picked up our preschool passenger the mom was clearly upset and didn't speak a word to me while she buckled her child. I asked her if everything was alright and she dismissed the question with something to do with the boys. She has been having a hard time with them lately. The preschooler said that her mom was mad this morning.
I talked to my suburban full of children how adults react to situations and the different ways they behave. Some yell, some get mad, some make threats. I reassured them that even though their parents were upset that they still loved them.
I dropped the children off and I had to go inside the school to excuse my children for their dentist appointments. A mom and her son are standing at the counter - something to do with a lost phone. The secretary brings a lost phone out to see if it's hers and the woman is upset because it is missing the back and the battery. She turns and KICKS her son! The boy starts hopping on one foot while holding his other shin. I look at the secretary to see how she will react. She doesn't. I stare at this mom in disbelief. Should I say something? Should I try to console the child? I immediately thought of the television show - what would you do? I stood there in shock trying to decide if I should get involved. The moment passed but the incident has been weighing heavily on my mind.
I went to my class. I was excited to go because so far the method is working. LOVE and LOGIC. ( You can google the videos on You.Tube ) The setting was the same. Mostly couples with a single mom and her mother - and me. I wasn't going to make my husband go - it was my idea and I'm the one who wanted to take the class. I found out that everyone thought I was a single parent. I found out how intimidating this can be when you don't agree with telling your child (who is bothering you with an annoying behavior) - that you would be happier if they weren't there with you at that moment. WHO TELLS A CHILD THAT??
Talk about class room bullying. There were about 9 sets of families there and half of them where trying to convince me that it was okay to say that. The objective of that being - is to let the child know their behavior is bothering you and you want them to stop. Basically your telling your child you don't want to be around them while they are being annoying. I believe you can redirect their behavior without telling them that you don't want to be around them and that you'd be happier if they weren't there with you at that moment.
I have loved the program up until this point. I felt outed. Segregated. Kicked out of the club. The class ended on that note and I sarcastically asked the instructor if I was welcome to come back even though I disagreed on that point. He shrugs his shoulders and said that if its working for you don't change it. If it's not then do something about it. I walk out and I hear him saying "see you all next week".
A woman catches up to me in the hallway and asks if I am a single parent - because when she was a single parent she too did not want to say anything to make her child feel rejected. I looked at her in disbelief and chuckled. What is this world coming to?
I may be wrong? Who knows? I just know that my parenting style is NOT WORKING. I hate yelling and being angry. So I'm working on that. I'm not perfect. I'm not going to hide behind dentist whitened teeth and perfectly ironed clothing and try to make the world see me as anything but the flawed imperfect person that I am. And I've noticed that THAT bothers a lot of people. In church! In School! Everywhere!
Why can't we admit our faults and do something about it? Get help if needed. Stop the Keeping up with the Smiths and the Jones family syndrome. Stop treating others like we are better than them. What is with all the bullying and anger in the world?