It’s easy to get upset with your kids when they disobey you. Some of the doozies that really do it for me are when my 3-year-old doesn’t want to go to bed or eat the dinner I slaved over for him --- and of course, tantrums in public. The list could go on and on. And when you’re dealing with a 3-year-old, those moments happen a lot!
Lately, my son doesn’t want to go to sleep in his own bed, which is nothing out of the ordinary for children. However, he wants to stay with my husband and I in the living room and lay next to us until he falls asleep — a habit we are really trying to keep him from getting into. Here’s the thing: I fall asleep with him too and just like that, my evenings are no longer my own.
Evenings are my catch up time. This is when I can peacefully have a conversation with my husband, catch up on my reading or just relax with HGTV. I have been so mad that my kid was stealing my me-time. He, of course, senses my anger, which then makes me feel extra guilty, not at the fact that I get mad at him, but that I stay mad at him. The next morning, I try to talk to him about why I was angry and how he needs to sleep in his bed without me there so that he can be well rested for school. But it all just sounds like, blah, blah, blah.
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It's completely natural to get upset with your kids, but staying mad, I believe, doesn't help the situation and it certainly doesn't teach your kids anything positive about how to deal with their emotions. In a lot of parenting situations (e.g., sleep training or potty training) it is often the parent — not the child — that allows the situation to get out of hand.
In this instance, it is certainly my fault that my 3-year-old doesn’t want to go sleep without me next to him. I’m not saying I won’t be one pissed mommy tonight, I probably will be, and ’ll acknowledge my anger and simply move on…until I decide I want to deal with the problem head on.
In the big picture, though, my child will eventually sleep the entire night in his bed, as he did so often before he, for whatever reason, decided to momentarily revisit what it’s like to sleep next to his mommy. Don’t get me wrong, we have to end this ASAP, but for now, he needs the comfort this provides him and it may be more important to understand why he needs it, rather than become angry about it.
Want to weigh in? Tweet me at @yeseniaalmonte.