Melanie Jeanne

When She Speaks I Listen

We have our moments. Moments of complete and utter communication breakdown. Moments when tears are rolling down her face and emotions are running higher than high. Moments in which the only possible way to communicate her feelings is to act out, to rage a bit, to throw a tantrum, to hit me. Moments when words will never be able to express the hurt her heart is feeling. Yes, we have had those moments, have you?
And as a result of those moments I used to put Doodle in an emotional time-out, I used to battle her will against my own trying to prove I was the more powerful of the two of us. I used to work at proving I was willing to take the stand off and you better believe little one, I am going to win.

And always always always, I cannot say always enough, after the stand off, I felt the ache of guilt and regret.

[photo credit: melanie moore]

Let me be clear, right here and right now, I am a mom who believes in discipline and teaching my girl the difference between right and wrong, between humble and arrogant, between manners and rudeness. I am a mom who believes in humility and grace. I am a mom who believes in privileges and blessings. I am a mom who believes in discipline.

My struggle is determining just what discipline looks like in our home. And because of the guilt and regret that would occur after our battle of the wills, I knew I had to explore new options. I had to find a way to make a different option successful. The bottom line there would be no more regret and there would be lessons and love.

[photo credit: melanie moore]

Enter the new and improved discipline… time together, hanging out and talking. When Doodle’s emotions start to bubble over, instead of trying to control chaos and provide her an emotional time out, I take her cue. I slow down. I look directly into her eyes. I ask her questions. I kneel at her level and we talk. She may not say a single word, but taking the time to notice her, to come to her, to tell her I understand her in my body language as well as words, it has done wonders.

Now, when she speaks I listen. I listen to her cues, I listen to her emotions, I listen to her actions and I listen to her words. And now, instead of a punch in the arm I hear the words behind the punch. “Mommy when you threw away my cup before I was done drinking you made me angry.” I understand that, that makes sense.

Gone are the days of time outs and empty threats and anger. Here are the days where certain behavioral choices mean loss of toys to the trash (or donated to the local shelter for kiddos in need). Here are the days where we use more and more words to express how we feel. Here are the days of peaceful love and happiness within our despite challenges.

This parenting thing… I tell ya, it’s a constant life lesson.

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