Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I'm doing it wrong

Last night I came home from ward temple night and then had to go run a couple of errands and do my grocery shopping. Which meant it was after 10 p.m. when I got home and found my nine-year-old just starting his homework and my 13-year-old yet to start. Argh! I felt like one of those people at Wal-Mart who take their kids shopping after 11 p.m. and then are cross with them because they're misbehaving.

Obviously that's much too late for a nine-year-old (even the youngest child nine-year-old who is used to later nights) so he was cranky and then I got cranky. I was frustrated with him for not doing it earlier (but also frustrated with myself for not being home to encourage him) and frustrated with my daughter for not doing hers earlier and just frustrated overall that my life doesn't run as smoothly as the freaking Brady Bunch show.

So I declared martial law and ranted and raved a bit--I'll say this for myself, there was no actual yelling, but what good did that do when yelling was perceived--and then things got worse.

Does this sound familiar? "Why should I even try when I'm going to get yelled out anyway?!"

I have to admit that despite the phone calls from the Foods teacher that L~ is being disruptive (to be fair, she called almost every parent in the class because the whole class is disruptive, but I know L~ and am sure she is one of the leaders of the band), L~ has been doing a much better job this year. While I still have issues with her (namely her attitude and her occasional bold-faced lies), I recognize she is making an effort. While having a 4.0 just two and a half weeks into the school year isn't a big deal for some, it certainly is for her. And, having been 13 before, I realized immediately I made a big mistake getting after her for something she was really doing well.

Huge mistake.

What did I do about it? I apologized. And I told her she was doing a good job.

Let's just say she did not accept it gracefully.

This morning when she got up she was a little more cheerful (mornings are another thing she has been doing better). I told her, "When I was your age I would have given the world to hear my parents apologize to me when they were wrong. And they were wrong sometimes. And sometimes so am I. I am proud of you, but I do make mistakes. And when I do I will apologize. You need to learn to accept an apology more graciously."

I don't know if she really got it, but it needed to be said.

It also needs to be said that kids do need to be caught doing good. Especially teenage kids. Sometimes you have to look a little harder to see the good, but they need to hear about it when you notice it.

I'm going to work harder to see and acknowledge the good.


Geo said...

You're also doing it right.

La Yen said...

I love it.

Jen said...

I'm 32 and my sisters and I still complain to our mother that she only notices when we DON'T do something. Bravo for you, you're daughter is a lucky girl - whether she know it or not:)

Queen Scarlett said...

I love that you apologize. I grew up wishing mine would do the same. One of those things that I make a note of to do with my girls now...because it meant so much to hear those words.