There are many stories about kids with busy parents, where the parents keep on buying their kids more and more expensive gifts to try to buy the kids' love, but nothing is good enough for the kids, because it turns out that what they want isn't things, they just want to feel loved...
It seems that in today's world, when there is a problem, people like to throw money at it, thinking that money solves everything. Buy something for someone sad, spend money on this specialist and that specialist, etc... Bottom line being, if you have enough money, you're able to make any problem go away, and if you don't have money, you're out of luck.
I don't believe that.
When a problem comes up, I try to see how it can be solved without money, and when its an interpersonal problem, many times I find it doesn't need anything other than attention and love.
We had a lot of behavioral issues with one of our kids. People were telling me that I need to send this kid to school, ideally a special school, because I was pampering this kid too much, and I needed school to toughen up this kid and knock sense into him. That the only way I would straighten this kid out was via lots of therapy. That my "attachment parenting" was messing him up.
I was wondering if they were right. Maybe a firmer hand was all that was needed?
But what if sending him off to school would mean that he would be even more difficult during the time that he was home? What if what he needed wasn't time away from Mommy, but more time with Mommy, more focused attention?
Because it made sense to me, I decided to keep him home and focus on showering him with love, bonding with him... and "miraculously" the behavioral issues got much better, and he no longer is that clingy, difficult kid, but a lovable and loving young boy.
No money thrown at it, no official treatment, just love.
Love and attention makes a big difference in a kid's behavior. When a kid feels good about himself, much easier when he feels loved, he usually will act decently, but when he is feeling bad about himself, he misbehaves, because he thinks he's not able to do any better because he's "bad", and will often try to misbehave to get negative attention, because that's all the attention he feels he deserves.
Recently, I've been very busy, juggling a thousand things at once, and my kids, unfortunately, were paying for it. They were misbehaving a lot, doing things they'd never done before... and I realized that something needed to be done.
While disciplining them severely might possibly have had the desired effect, (I was already disciplining for each individual thing) I wanted to get to the underlying reason why they were acting that way, because otherwise I'd be treating the symptom, not the cause.
My guess? They were feeling ignored, that I wasn't paying enough attention to them. They admitted that to me as well, without my prompting.
So yesterday, I decided that we needed some intense treatment. A "Mommy pampering" day. A day full of love and fun, where I ignore everything else that I need to get done, and just focus on them, doing things with them, making good experiences with them, and work on building their confidence. Again, because kids who feel good about themselves act better.
I decided to work first with Lee, because I noticed that Ike likes to follow Lee's lead, and if Lee is behaving, Ike will usually as well.
Lee has been riding a bike with training wheels for a while already. I knew he'd be able to ride without training wheels already, but he'd been saying that he only thinks he'll be able to do so when he's 6 years old.
If Lee could learn how to ride a two wheeler with no training wheels already at the age of 5.5, (especially when none of his friends were), I knew he'd feel amazing about himself and his capabilities, and it would give that extra confidence boost that I felt was necessary at this point in time.
Well, Lee was off like a champ- he barely had me help him ride. He wobbled a bit, then steadied a bit, crashed a bit, etc... but 15 minutes after first trying to ride with no training wheels, he managed to ride long distances without falling or crashing...
So I took him down to a basketball court/soccer field where he was able to ride and ride and practice and get even better, and then I focused on Ike, teaching him how to play soccer, and as he made more and more "goals", he felt great about himself.
We then foraged some stuff together, and then the boys helped me cook a yummy lunch, after which we read many stories together until Mike got home from work.
The goal of spending loving time with the boys, to remind them just how much I love them and love spending time with them, to help them do things that they didn't know they could do so they would feel proud of themselves and confident and "grown up".... Well, it seems to have worked.
For the past 2 days, no misbehavior, and they're happier and more confident and even more enjoyable to be around...
Gotta schedule more of these "intense Mommy days" into my busy schedule, since I see how much loving affects kids, not to mention me as well.
And love don't cost a thing.
Have you ever had issues with your kids that you dealt with via being extra loving, and spending extra time with them? Did it work? Or are you of the opinion that its best to toughen up kids and not coddle them too much?