I met a lovely new friend, DM for coffee yesterday. What I didn't bank on was #2 son's behavior. Sometimes you just never know what will get them going, spiraling into attention seeking poor conduct (i.e. whining, fussing and in general, just plain acting like a 4 year old!). It was refreshing, in between my son's episodes, to observe my friend's reactions to things like squeeze yogurt in tube and rubber bands shaped like dinosaurs worn as bracelets (the latest craze for kids to trade and collect... don't get me started here on how parents enable their children on these fads! Remember Pokeman or Beanie Babies? This could be just as big, if only less expensive.)
"Not that I don't get angry. I'm just very aware of my anger. It's not about NOT having these feelings. It's just not being at the mercy of them."-- Judith Lasater
It's so much easier to just get angry and react. But, for me to stop and breathe, and then act or not at all, will usually illicit a better response from my kids than anger does. Like anything else, responding in a loving way requires practice, softness of heart and surrender.
My usual response when my kids mis-behave? "Do you want blessings or consequences?" When you mind your manners, you get blessed (positive encouragement, rewards, whatever motivates...) or consequences (time outs, push ups, whatever reinforces....) Boy, do I want to bless! And, don't we all want the blessings that come with obedience and surrender? DM said she might try that tactic with her kids but explaining it in terms of Karma. To do good because it's good to do good and what you does come back to you in unexpected ways.