As stated in this pages’ description I will kinda treat this as my journal section to reflect on my own parenting and to really encourage myself that there is always room for growth. So I am about to get a little vulnerable. I am thinking back to a moment when when my three year old was playing with a little hand held mirror. She has this whole beauty bin full of pretend make up and hair brushes. But this item was one of her favorites. It was pink and sparkly. There came a moment while she played where she had dropped her mirror. It was one of those kinds that fold shut and had a normal mirror on one side and the other side enlarged her reflection. Sadly, the hinge where the two mirrors folded together had come apart, thus leaving it broken. Once she realized it was broken she clenched her fists and began growling, and yelling. I thought -Woah! Who is this animal?!- I jumped up and my response was “it’s no big deal, it’s just a mirror!” She then began to cry. My next response… I am now ashamed to admit… “stop crying, this is no reason to cry!” And then I averted her attention to something else.
Later that day I had been getting into the fridge to grab a jar of my mamaw’s homemade jelly and had dropped the jar. It was a glass mason jar, so naturally against my hardwood floors, it busted. My response to this? That same growl, and clenched fist, and yelling I had just witnessed my three year old do. -My daughter has been speaking full sentences sense about the age of a year and a half, and has seemed to understand well beyond her years. I was about to learn just how much she caught onto things.- She approached me and said “Mommy are you feeling angry?” I was very frustrated at the situation and with myself realizing that here I was, a grown woman acting like my three year old had acted not but an hour before. Or, had she been acting like me?
This day I realized two things. First, that I had been teaching her for three years of her life some very unhealthy ways to handle anger. The second thing I had learned was that I was minimizing how she felt when her mirror had broke and therefore shutting her down emotionally. This is when I then decided I was a horrible parent. -As mentioned in another post this is my undying, unwavering fear, Failing as a parent.- After a lot of crying, and feeling bad for myself I got the broom and swept myself up and decided that there needed to be a change. Remember the old saying practice what you preach? I was wanting so much for her to just be calm and not make such a fuss about a silly thing and here I was busting at the seems over a broken mason jar. So I made her some Angry feet. -I will be making a post on these on my Toddler Tools page.- But I couldn’t just make a tool and expect her to know how to use it. I need to show her. And quite frankly, I needed the angry feet just much if not more than she did.
So one day she and I were sitting at my kitchen table and she was having a grand ole time drawing her shapes with a dry erase marker and her doodle board. But then she decided she was going to draw on her self, and then proceed to do it again after I had told her not too I felt anger boiling inside me. I hated that I was getting so angry over something so silly… and then I remembered the angry feet which were right behind me. My daughter looked in my eyes and could probably see the fury. So I took a deep breath and stood and she watched as I used the angry feet. She laughed at me as well because I probably looked very silly. But hearing her laugh really helped me calm down. This allowed me to relax, be calm, deal with her appropriately for disobeying, and teach her a healthier way to deal with her emotions. Also through this I realized that instead of brushing off her feelings about the mirror being broken, I should have said something more like this: “I see that you dropped your mirror, I know that was your favorite, maybe we can try and fix it together.”
Lets be real, I still struggle with keeping my own emotions in check. But making little tools for her has also really helped me. Some days I fail and give into the mommy growl, but other days I demonstrate strength in overcoming my anger and showing her how to just “take a chill pill” and breathe. Being an overly emotional bat like me doesn’t make us bad parents. It makes us human. But with some angry feet, a laughing toddler, and lot of prayer, I know I can overcome this struggle and so can you! So let your toddler or child of any age really, cry a little harder, laugh a little louder, and smile brighter. Having big emotions is okay. It’s all about how we deal with them.
If you have any tips on bringing your boiling point down leave it a comment! Seriously, we could all use a little extra help sometimes. Especially me. 🙂