I can stay calm through most parenting challenges. I can cope with interrupted sleep, vomiting children, last minute school assignment crises, misplaced school uniforms, fussy eaters and other dramas without too much distress. I can even cover 18 school exercise books with contact in a single evening without raising my blood pressure. True story.
What I can’t cope with is whining children. Whining drives me nuts. So, this afternoon when my 11-year-old son started whining because I unfairly expected him to pick up a pile of his folded washing and carry it from the lounge room, all the way down the hallway to his bedroom, I kind of snapped.
When he picked up the pile and started complaining about how difficult it was to carry it all at once, I found it hard to be sympathetic. Really, how difficult can it be to carry a small pile of folded laundry? When he dropped half the clothes back to the floor to demonstrate just how difficult I was making his life, that’s when I decided I’d had enough.
So, I did what any rational, emotionally-centred parent would do. I picked up the clothing he had dropped to the floor, calmly walked past him to the front door, opened the door, threw the clothes out onto the path and then calmly re-entered the house.
There are days when you just get tired of saying the same things over and over. You get tired of recalcitrant children, complaints, whining and simple jobs being made unnecessarily time-consuming and complicated.
I’m sure you have wonderful ways of dealing with those kinds of day. Time-out measures for yourself and your children, family routines, disciplinary techniques that overcome these kinds of challenges. I do too, most of the time.
Today, however, I opted for the reactive parenting method of dealing with things. If he can whine, I can have a tantrum and toss his clothes out onto the lawn, right? Certainly sounds fair to me.
Want to share your best reactive parenting moments?by