heart in the clouds

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I've got a new attitude!

In the words of Patti LabBelle I've got a new attitude...almost...I need a new attitude and I'm getting there. New year, new attitude. I'm always harping on Z about his attitude, his tone, his volume....but honestly I bet a lot of it is him modeling me and that's a hard pill to swallow. Admitting your part of your child's problems is well...nearly impossible.   But I think if we all stop and take a breather and really examine ourselves...a lot of the way our children act is a direct reflection of the way they see us handling the roller coasters of the day to day. 

I've read that in countless parenting books, blogs and magazines and agreed, but never really internalized it. I've been really frustrated with the way Z talks to us, especially when he's really unhappy about something. But if I'm honest...how do I talk and react when I'm unhappy about something...pretty much the same way....raise my voice (as if this will really motivate anyone to change their ways, actions or ideas), put things down hard on the counter (to show my feelings uh huh) Go in a room and nearly slam the door behind me and cry....pout but only if someone else is around to see it...these are hard things to admit, but I know I'm not alone.  I remember as a child, I couldn't stand being yelled at or to...it made me feel worse and it really made me not want to do anything, just built up anger in my own heart. I don't want Z to feel that way...crappy about himself, unmotivated to be good.  

Lately when I see him react to situations, I see myself as well and I just don't like it. I know I'm not totally to blame...a lot of it is also him just being 5 and not having a fully developed frontal lobe!! If you want to know more about how this plays into a child's behavior..I'll post some info at the end...very interesting and really explains a lot!!  I've read the frontal lobe doesn't fully develop until the 20s...so what's my excuse? Maybe it starts to deteriorate as soon as it's fully developed...yes!! That must be it hahahaha

Regardless of all the why's and how's...we've got to change. I keep telling him to talk to me with respect. I have to try harder to talk to him with respect, even if I'm angry. I tell him to pay attention to what I'm saying...I need to pay attention to what he says as well.  I tell him it's okay to be angry, but it's not okay to act angry in such a way that it hurts someone else mentally or physically...I need to make sure I'm following my own advice when I'm angry. I need to make it a point to keep my voice down and not talk in a disrespectful way. I tell him I want him to ask for the things he needs with a polite tone...adding the appropriate pleases, thank yous, sorrys, etc. I need to remember to also use these courtesies with him.  He's my child and yes as the adults and parents, his daddy and I are in charge...but we need to "rule" with gentleness, boldness and humility...hard things to combine in leadership for sure!!

I found an awesome blog post listing all the proverbs that deal with anger
I think this one is my favorite...“The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.” (Proverbs 17:14, ESV)." Picture a dam holding back a mighty river...damage occurs and a little breech begins in the dam letting out a trickle of water...but sometimes the breech grows and the water begins to find it's way out...it's built up with so much force and pressure, it can eventually breech the entire dam and gush forth with such power that it destroys everything in its path...wow.  Please, God do not let my anger be like that...help me patch the hole before it even lets any water out. 

I really do love that kid with all my heart and I want him to know that above anything. I also want him to learn respect, how to control anger before it grows into sin, kindness and gentleness. I want him to see our leadership of his childhood as guidance and love...not control. 

One thing that happened recently regarding the "in charge" issue was Z asking me if I was I was the boss of the house...I was curious as to why he asked that...but it all came down to one observation he had "Well because you always ask daddy if he has on an undershirt and stuff." 

Okay now here's some frontal lobe info from wikipedia that I found fascinating:

The executive functions of the frontal lobes involve the ability to recognize future consequences resulting from current actions, to choose between good and bad actions (or better and best), override and suppress unacceptable social responses, and determine similarities and differences between things or events. Therefore, it is involved in higher mental functions.
The frontal lobes also play an important part in retaining longer term memories which are not task-based. These are often memories associated with emotions derived from input from the brain's limbic system. The frontal lobe modifies those emotions to generally fit socially acceptable norms.
In humans, the frontal lobe reaches full maturity around only after the 20s,[1] marking the cognitive maturity associated with adulthood.

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