Do you react or respond to your kids?

Do you yell? Walk away? Get in a power struggle? Get frustrated? Lose your patience? If you tend to react more than respond, here are a few tips on emphatetic and supportive responses.

Yesterday we had an amazing walk around the neighborhood and finally saw some Spring blooms! Say whattttt? Spring is coming to Chicago? Perhaps. Forecasts shows 60s next week (jumping for joy over here!!!!).

Anyways, I wanted to say that I use these walks to talk to my boys (since Anastasija is still too little) and teach them what’s good and what’s not. Part of it is showing them how important communication is. It’s important to respond more than react.

I am guilty of reacting at times too. But, I am working on showing more emphatetic responses than just snapping at the kiddos, which is the whole reason why I wanted to share this with you too.

Gosh, my patience is awful when it comes to my kids or really anything in life. I have no patience. I always have to remind myself that my four year old is still just a kid and that it is normal for him to act like a kid, and that I shouldn’t expect him to act like an adult.

Reacting really means you both are about to get even more upset because they’re yelling and you’re yelling back to try to stop them from yelling. It really just makes you fight even more, get frustrated and snap more than you should. At the end of the day, you get that mom guilt feeling. To avoid that, try responding.

Responding on the other hand means that you choose effective communication and that you let them express their emotions, their big feelings and then give them support by being emphatetic. This calms the situation down and it is a win win for both. There is nothing wrong with them expressing themselves, right? After all we want them to be strong and independent.

For example, when they spill milk on the floor. The before me would snap and say, I cannot believe you spilled your milk AGAIN! But the now me says, let’s get some paper towels and clean this mess up. What about you, can you try this for me?

Another example is when my two year old is about to start crying or throw a tantrum in the middle of our Target trip, and the first thing that comes to my mind is, ah no kid you’re not ruining this trip for me so instead I come up to him, pick him up and point to something, and ask what color it is? Or what kind of juice should we buy today? Okay, you may think that’s silly BUT hear me out… when a child (at least mine) is about to get upset, cry or throw a tantrum the best thing to do is distract them by doing something else (at least it works for me every single time). I know, I know sometimes you cannot do anything but in most cases it can all be prevented. You know why? Because all they are looking for is someone’s attention. Play their game.

I know this is HARD. So hard! I mean, motherhood is hard. But, in the long run it will pay off and you’ll feel accomplished. Responding to your children teaches them that it is OK for them to express their feelings, their frustrations and process everything.

What do you think? Do you think I am wrong about the concept?

I am no expert but I truly believe that kids needs to be talked to, communicated with, understood and supported. The way you react will teach them to react to everything in life. So be kind, show kindness so they can too.

Xoxo,

Vesna

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