This Too Shall Pass; A Parenting Mantra for the Bad Days and Times

What started out as a great day soon led to me questioning what we've been doing lately.  Things had been going so well (perhaps too well to last?), the boys were growing by leaps and bounds, getting along so well, loving life, each other and school.

We've been kicking back, enjoying the weather, nature, and one another.

They all started bickering a bit toward the end of last week but we had been stuck inside with rainy weather and kids feeling under the weather so I tried my best to ignore it and hope it would soon change.

I woke feeling excited to start our week.  The boys were quietly and happily playing Wii, Computer and watching a movie.  I managed to exercise, do housework, laundry and cooking.  They turned them off and got breakfast ready joking with one another and playing around.  I read the final chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and we were eagerly awaiting the start of book three.  We decided to head out on a field trip to a "new to us" place and the boys were thrilled.  They ran upstairs and started getting ready.

I came down to fighting, tears, lies, and other mayhem and after much (MUCH) internal debate decided that I can't keep ignoring these little bursts of dishonesty and meanness I keep getting glimpses of. 

I canceled our trip and felt so bad when they burst into tears.

But, I held firm though in my belief that if I keep letting it slide and give them second, third, and fourth chances then I'm not teaching them that these behaviors are important to me.

I too was so bummed and trying not to cry.  I'm bummed that I missed out on what promised to be such a fun and exciting day with my boys.

I'm bummed that it seems like every time we've got it together, we've got it figured out, they're getting along and we're loving this homeschooling thing it all changes and seems to slip through our fingers.  We then spend weeks (sometimes months) trying to find our way back to our joy in one another and in homeschooling, trying out new routines, new materials, etc.

I'm getting kind of sick of the roller coaster. 

My younger two bounced back rather quickly about not being able to go anywhere today and they headed out to play together in the rain running around the house and playing on the swing set.

Ian, however, was like a dog with a bone and just would not let it drop.  As much as it saddened me further it was nice to have a honest and frank talk with him.  

As he kept questioning why we couldn't go & crying and begging me to change my mind we had a talk about:
  • appropriate behavior
  • keeping our hands to ourselves
  • owning up to our actions
  • kindness and treating others with respect
The more we talked the more I realized I had to hold firm because he genuinely seemed to think it was OK to pick on his brothers because:
  • he was bored
  • they hurt his feelings a few days/ weeks ago
  • that if be begged enough we'd all just forget about it.  
He actually told me he started the fight this morning because he was bored and sick of being around the house.

I reminded him that I've been offering field trips for weeks and have been met with shrugged shoulders and being asked to stay home and play wiffle ball instead.  I reminded him that we were going somewhere today so he wouldn't be bored but that we have to actually make it OUT of the house and we can't do that if they can't get ready and get along. 

He really seemed to blame me and more and more I wondered what we have been teaching them.

We've had a great few months and so many great times stick out in my mind.  Wonderful times spent as a family, wonderful learning opportunities shared, happy memories like watching the three boys swimming across our portion of the lake yesterday to help their great uncle build a floating dock.

Great memories like listening to Alec and Evan planning out how to play Quidditch on Saturday, heading to the raptor center on Friday, watching the final Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows together on Friday night.

I remembered the two times we ate dinner out this week (something that almost never happens!) and how well behaved the boys were.  I remembered that Alec has been reading up a storm tearing through chapter books like nobody's business.  I remembered listening to all three boys dictating facts to me to type up on my blog about the raptor center and all they learned that day.

 I remembered them banding together to play wiffle ball all these weeks quickly agreeing on batting order, who would set up the game and just having fun with one another.  I fondly remember all our picnics in the yard where we listened to Harry Potter, watched birds, helicopters, boats, ducks, and just enjoyed being together in the fresh air and sunshine. 

I decided I needed to let go of my anger and dismay over our day and just know that this too will pass. 

One bad day does not discount all the good ones.

I'm still hopeful that our day will turn around and I'll look fondly back on all that we did and all the fun we had but if not I know that tomorrow is another day. 

How do you deal with bickering and fighting?

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  1. Wow, thanks for sharing this! We've been on that roller coaster too...especially lately. And it can be so disruptive. I admire you for really taking that hard stance. Sometimes I know I hesitate to take away events like that because I don't want to deny the experience...or because I don't want to be disappointed either! But you hit the nail on the head...that's not what it's about. Lessons like that are hard. They're supposed to be hard and I think it's good for our kids to understand that the consequences affect more than them too. In this case, their bad decisions not only caused them to miss out on the opportunity, but you missed it too!

    1. Thank you; it sure was hard but it did seem to work... for now.

  2. We are going through something similar with the kids right now, too. I can't stand the bickering and man talk and ATTITUDE. I feel like I have to nip it in the bud now before it gets worse, but the other part of me sometimes thinks it's too late. I've noticed it's worse on the days they watch TV and play video games, so I limit that as much as possible. There will always be good days and bad days. I love your mantra.

    1. Oh yes, my kids are so much worse after TV or video game play too. I try to limit it as much as I can.

  3. Parenthood is such a roller coaster!! and kids REALLY get into trouble when they are bored lol!!

    Thanks for sharing at #bloggerspotlight, pinned!


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