Thursday, October 4, 2007

Attitude adjustments. They're not just for kids.

One day a person in my house woke up with a bad attitude. She walked around with a frown on her face. She was frustrated at the other family members. She yelled, she had temper tantrums. She admitted that she was wrong for her behavior, but she didn’t change. In fact, I think she enjoyed the way yelling made her feel. It released some of her irritability. But, later, she would feel bad about it and wish she hadn’t done it.

I noticed her attitude was affecting the other family members. They began to fuss
with each other, walk around with sullen, frowny faces and make rude comments to each other. There was more fighting. This went on for several days. I’m ashamed to admit, I let it go on for almost two weeks.

What would you have done? How would you discipline this individual? How long might this behavior gone on in your house?

What if the person with the bad attitude was you?

I was preoccupied with the upcoming yard sale, trying to paint my bedroom along with the usual daily activities like doing lessons and preparing meals. I wasn’t handling it very well, but I kept pushing along, determined to do everything no matter how bad things got. I was making a kid cry almost every day. I felt irritable, imposed upon, my fuse was very short and my attitude was very bad.

First, I blamed my kids. They were so needy. They wanted food, clean clothes, and even attention from me! I couldn’t do everything, why couldn't they understand? They were fussing with each other more, talking back to me and not completing chores. I was yelling, threatening and punishing, but nothing was working. Instead of improving relationships, I was tearing them apart.

When I hurt my daughter’s feelings in church one Sunday and she hid in her room most of the afternoon sobbing on her bed, I realized I was the problem and I needed to change my attitude.

Have you ever noticed that when you have a bad attitude everyone around you has one too? That’s what was happening in my house. I was too busy to set limits, so bedtime slipped into anytime. Chore time disappeared, and being respectful to one another was rare. I was too busy to enforce discipline, so I began to yell, make unreasonable demands and expect them to do what I wanted them to do without taking the time to explain anything.

I was very close to a nomination for worst mother of the year.

What changed? When I finally realized I was the problem, I prayed for help. I started opening my eyes to the harsh words I was using and the negative comments I was making. I re-read Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids! By Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller. (And boy did I need that refresher course.) I apologized to my kids, and I struggled. It’s not easy to be calm, rational and giving.

Things are still not perfect; they never will be. It’s hard being the parent. I get discouraged. I get irritable. Some days I want to call a time-out and just stop being the mom for a few hours. It’s so much easier to let the sassy talk go rather than apply discipline. It’s easier to zone out than pay attention. But I’m trying. And it’s amazing what changing my attitude has done for the rest of the family. If I am on top of things, they don’t push the rules quite so much. If I am free with the affection and love, they aren’t whiny and needy all the time. And if I’m communicating with my kids instead of yelling demands, they are able to come to me, to open their hearts to me, and that’s the kind of relationship I want to grow within my family.

It’s amazing what a little adjustment can do.


Anonymous said...

Great post! I have caught myself doing this when my kids were younger. I somehow felt I deserved to feel sorry for myself and have a bad day now and then. I hope I have grown by leaps and bounds in this area. I may have to work hard to overcome the feeling of wanting to get my way, but the Lord convicts my heart and I choose to let go and let God reign and rule. It sure makes for a much happier family...and a much happier me.

Heidi Jo said...

oh yeah! i have so been there. there are many days when i find myself hollering and pouting and then hollering at my kids for doing the same things.

it's so tough in those moments to admit our failure, to ask forgiveness of those we've been hurtful and a bad example unto, and to forgive ourselves.

i feel so weak in those times, so in-efficient, and the devil is really good at convincing me that i've messed this up big time and my kids will never be any different than what they saw in me.

it's a daily challenge. thanks for sharing your insights and for reminding me that i'm not the only one with this struggle.

Lori said...

Great post. This had me crying.
So true. I've noticed the same thing in myself from time to time.
What a difference changing our attitudes make.
Thanks for sharing. Great reminder to keep my attitude in check everyday.

Short Stop said...

Great post! I am convicted more and more that I am the one setting the tone for our home each day. My husband has a sweet, gentle way about him, and is very rarely frazzled. But, he is not here all day...I am. My kids attitudes seem to mimic mine...and wow, what a responsibility.

Thank you for sharing this. It really hit home with me today!

Anonymous said...

What an amazing and uplifting post to me. Thanks for being open and honest!


Mommy Lynda said...

Wow. I so needed to hear this today! Yesterday was my worst day so far. All my kids were fussing and my patient fuse was already almost out. I will have to get that book!

Melissa Markham said...

We have all been there! Some of us more often than others (hanging my head). In fact, right now with the extra work I am trying to fit in and a yard sale in two days, lots of things are running amuck around here. Thanks for the encouraging post. I am glad to know I am not the only one that falls into this trap from time to time. And I am thankful for the reminder about getting out!

Ruth said...

That was a great post! Thank you for the reminder that I, the MOM, need to keep a check on my attitude around the house!

Lisa said...

That was a great post. Thanks for the much needed reminder that I need to model the behaviors I expect to see in my children. I tend to get busy and overwhelmed and just need to check out of the mom duties to complete my to-do list. I'm slowly learning that is not the way it works with kids. I do take my frustrations out on them and their behavior suffers. Reading this reminded me to try harder tomorrow and hopefully a positive attitude will rub off on everyone in the house!

Amber said...

been there, done that! I can't stand it, I expect my children not to behave like that and yet I find myself behaving that very way. Great post!

God Bless,

diana said...

such a good post and a great reminder for all moms to check their attitudes. our attitude does have a great impact on the children and family. you know the saying, "if mom ain't happy, no one's happy." and i found in myself, that the longer i let it go on, the harder it was to shed.

The Sullivan's said...

I really needed this reminder. I've had a couple of weeks like this lately!

jodi said...

Oh, you were talking about You? I thought you were talking about Me! Thanks for your honesty in this post. So many of us struggle with our attitudes!

Halfmoon Girl said...

Been there, done that! Thank you for your honesty.

SilkandPurple said...

I love this post and I love Scott and Joanne. I have many of their books, but I found a big drawback with them--I have to actually *read* them and apply the wisdom. Keeping them in the "Things to Read Next" pile didn't help! And to see that I'm usually the worst offender? Humbling. So. Anyone want to carpool our children to counseling?