Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Parenting With Humor

Sometimes we as parents take things too seriously and are too quick to get angry.  If we put things into perspective, most of the mischievious things our kids do are not the end of the world.  One thing I have learned as a parent is how important it is to laugh often and laugh with my kids.  Discipline is important too, but frequently I find myself thinking, "This is going to be a great story!"  I realized one day that every minute of every day, I had something I could be angry about - the dishes someone didn't put away, the shoes in the middle of the room, the wasted food, candy wrappers in their bedroom, etc, but that was no way to live and wasn't going to create a good relationship with my kids.  I knew they wouldn't remember later what they did wrong.  They would remember their mom being angry and hurting their feelings.

We have to admit too, many things are partially or totally our fault.  I was at first fuming when my daughter decided to "decorate" our bathroom drawers with a Sharpie, but she wouldn't have had the opportunity to do it if it hadn't been left out in the first place.  I did notice quickly that she locked the bathroom door, but it took me a while to find something to pick the lock with.

After I opened the door and surveyed the damage, she declared with a maniacal laugh that her brother did it.  She did get a time-out, but I also took a picture because I knew it would be funny later.  My husband came home with a product called "Off the Wall" and now it's a somewhat distant memory.  I highly recommend it, but make sure you ventilate the place well.

Remember that stuff can be replaced or fixed.  Our relationships with our kids are way more important.  I tried really hard to remember that when my boys ripped their bedroom door off the hinges.  And when my son smeared peanut butter on every surface he could reach after I had just cleaned.  And when my daughter smashed a whole carton of eggs on the kitchen floor when she learned to open the refrigerator. 

During a major tattling phase my boys went through, I made them laugh, but also made a point when I started tattling on them to each other.  Then my daughter became very particular about how she wanted her sandwich cut and I seized the opportunity to turn the tables when she brought me an imaginary sandwich.  I asked her, "Did you cut it into triangles?"  She smiled, "Yes ......"  I snapped, "I wanted rectangles!"  The look on her face was priceless, as if to say, "Wow, that really is annoying.  I have tasted my own medicine and it is bitter."  Then she ate it.

I have definitely become a more relaxed and fun parent with time.  Believe me, it's a happier way to be and getting all worked up doesn't solve anything.

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