Friday, August 9, 2013

Choosing Kindness instead of Anger

When we first moved into our house, life was chaotic. I couldn't find anything. I was stressed from moving out of the apartment. I began to hate cleaning. I struggled to make dinner--forget eating healthy.

Almost everything began to upset me. I snapped at the little things and shouted at the bigger ones. (I hate to admit that! :| ) I was taking my anxiety/ feelings out on my husband... but especially on Devin. I had this thing permanently attached to my leg. And I was home with him all day... all by myself. He was probably sensing my annoyance and was concerned. Not too mention his own confusion of his whole life changing. But he would follow me around and try to help. I didn't want his help. I just wanted to get life back in order... quickly, with no distractions.

My anger continued to rise until I realized that something had to change. Getting rid of my little buddy was not an option. Locking him up in a closet or making him sit in his high chair all day was not an option. The only option I could actually control was me. I had to change me.

I began studying about learning to control my anger on lds.org. And something amazing appeared in the search results! I found a manual with the entire lesson devoted to "Controlling Our Anger." It was exactly what I needed to hear. After thoroughly studying it, I continued to read various other articles from lds.org about controlling anger and being kind. Allow me just to say, that it was not an overnight change. I had to constantly remind myself to stay calm and in control. When Devin would frustrate me and I was about to blow, I would say over and over in my head, "Be kind to Devin!" I recited this hourly, maybe even every few minutes at first. Sometimes I had to put myself in timeout.

But something miraculous happened. Slowly. 

I realized this morning that I have not rehearsed "be kind to Devin" for a little while now. And I didn't just stop saying it because I gave up on the idea. I changed and didn't need to constantly remind myself of it. (Now this is not to say that I will never need to remind myself again. I'm sure life will change and I will have to change too and will still need reminders....)

The more I focused on being kind, the less frustration I had. The more I was willing to see that Devin was just trying to learn and was not trying to upset me. I saw that he wanted to be with me because he loved me and trusted me. I saw that he was trying to be like me. And Devin changed too. Since he was mirroring me, the kinder and gentler I was, the happier and more obedient he was.

Instead of wanting to just get things done, I began to let him work beside me. It takes way more time on my part but he loves it. He is so proud of his hard work. And I love watching him grow and smile! I especially love the sweet spirit that dwells in our home as we are kind to each other.

teach 'em young...

Devin LOVES helping me wipe the counter down!
So instead of getting out one rag for me,
we use two every time.
When we finish, Devin will take the rags
and throw them in the dirty laundry basket.
He is such a happy helper!

{Just for the record... the only reason I am posting this is because I like to think I'm not the only one who has ever shouted at/ ignored/ etc my child. I feel like I'm admitting a huge weakness... so please be gentle with your response!}

P.S. The picture was taken yesterday. Today is Devin's 14 month "birthday."



1 comment:

Robyn said...

I think we all go through those times when we just need to step back a little and take a breather. Sometimes I just NEED to have Jake take my Little Man away for a little while....or I need to go somewhere without him.

Good for you for seeking out a solution rather than just continuing with the problem!