Today we had a variety of mishaps, ranging from my daughter’s temper tantrum after being scratched by the cat (which she blamed on her brother), to a red crayon in the clothes dryer, to the bunny escaping and taking longer than usual to catch. There were a few more, as well. All day, I felt somewhat sad and unsettled about our summer coming to an end and school beginning tomorrow. .
However, what I returned to throughout the day was a commitment to stay peaceful and calm. One of the great things about the philosophy behind “Positive Discipline” is that it’s very compassionate — reminding you to be kind to your children AND to yourself. The author points out that during conflict, the brain quickly shifts into fight or flight mode, and this is not a good time or state-of-mind for communicating effectively or solving problems. It’s better to recognize this and use a light touch than to throw yourself into the fray and end up making the situation worse. The book even suggests that, whenever possible, parents physically remove themselves from their children’s behaviors to preserve their own sanity and well-being. Today when Zoe was lying on the floor screaming hysterically about her cat scratches and how much she hated her brother, I offered her assistance, but when she refused help, I walked down the driveway to check the mail. It was a warm, windy day, and even being outside for just a few minutes eased my tension. When I got back into the house with a new magazine that had arrived for Zoe in the mail, she was able to calm down and move from the floor to the reading chair.
I stayed peaceful all day and ended up feeling good about how the day went.
But tomorrow: school begins. (Cue ominous Law & Order music — da DUM!)