The Causes and Solutions
Kids have off days just like we do. I'm sure you've had that experience. A day of moodiness, whining, irritability, meltdowns . . . nothing goes right.
An occasional off day can be dealt with fairly easily, but sometimes these trends extend into many days or even weeks. A six-year-old who has been getting herself dressed and tying her own shoes for some time all of the sudden can't seem to get her clothes on in the morning and is whiny and teary when you try to get her ready for school. Your 4-year-old starts sucking his thumb and wants you to hold him like a baby in your lap. Your teen who is for the most part cooperative and takes care care of himself begins lying around the house, leaving stuff everywhere, avoiding homework, playing video games and watching TV all afternoon into the evening. [Side note: If your teen always acts this way, then that is a whole other problem for another blog.]
This week's blog isn't about how to parent. Most of my blogs do focus on that in one way or another, but this week I just want to remind parents of how important they are, and to give them some props. It's a job that gets so little in the way of public affirmation, and all to often, plenty of criticism when things go wrong.
Here's what we should all remember:
How to Keep the Stress Down
Parents of younger kids often dread the late afternoon/early evening hours between 5PM and 7PM. It’s a time of transition. You're getting off work, picking up the kids from school, day care, or sports practice, and coming back home.
It’s a heavy workload time too. Dinner has to be prepared and eaten, homework started, and baths taken. Everyone’s tired. The kids are often irritable, whiny, and unruly. Parents are usually exhausted and stressed. Some parents call it the Arsenic Hour, and many call it the Witching Hour. Either way, it’s not an easy time.
How to Make it Fun and Get Your Kids to Help
Saturday cleaning can be grueling on many levels. You may hate it because you've already worked all week. Your kids hate it because . . . Well, they just hate it. They don't enjoy chores, it's Saturday, and they'll do anything to get around it. Maybe you don't clean on Saturday, but if not, you likely try and sandwich it in yourself during the week. I know mom's who get up an extra hour early to clean before going to work, or they spend their late hours before bed cleaning, or drudge through it on Sunday which becomes another workday for them.
If your kids are old enough to participate in cleaning, then get them to join in. They need to learn the skills, and they should help. Don't be a slave mom (or slave dad)!
One of the biggest complaints I hear from parents, and one I had to work through myself, is kids’ arguing over every little thing.
You ask your son to pick up his clothes off the bathroom floor and he launches into a series of questions like “Can I do it later?”, or “Why do I have to do that now?”, or he points out that his sister's room has clothes all over the floor, or he says he doesn't feel good, and on and on and on.
Eventually, you get fed up, raise your voice and shout "Just do it! Why do I have to repeat things over and over to you?!!!!" Your son burst into tears and stalks off, you feel guilty, and there goes your mood.