Happiness Project Update 10: Parenthood … Where Everyone Has a Meltdown

18 Aug

You take a deep breath, grind your teeth, and rub your head in the hopes that the universe sends you a truck-load of patience and some Advil for the rest.

This is the meltdown process.

But all you really do after all that grinding is increase the chances of fracturing, loosening, or losing your teeth and eventually setting yourself up for dentures by the age of fifty. Not to mention adding wrinkles to your already aging forehead from all that rubbing.

This is the life of a parent during the meltdown crisis. It can be caused by anything, but the primary culprits are hunger and sleepiness. Any parent that tells you their kids never do this is just lying and trying to make themselves look Parent magazine-worthy. Those smiley faces on the cover of magazines … yeah those parents suffer the meltdown process too. You can’t airbrush that out.

Image via Happiness-Project.com

But other than turning to massive amounts of chocolate, apparently acknowledging feelings  are important. In The Happiness Project Gretchen Rubin talks about these parent self-help books. I’m not big on those parent advice books with unrealistic scenarios that give unpractical advice. I prefer the Judd Apatow method myself. But she did happen to mention a couple of items I thought were noteworthy.

Instead of getting sassy with my kid about whining ,or dismissing his four-year old feelings about yet another set of Thomas the Train Tracks thus extending the attitude and sadness, I should just acknowledge his feelings and things would probably settle down a lot faster.

I was doubtful of this Brady-BunchPartridge Family mentality, but it surprisingly worked.

“…much of children’s frustration comes not from being forced to do this or that but rather from the sheer fact that they’re being ignored.”

There are a few methods she mentions to help the acknowledgement-factor and possibly decrease future therapy for your kid.

“Write it Down.”

Seeing how my son has noticed my daily lists and that I often write things down on paper or the computer, he’s become aware that writing things down is important. So when he suggested “Mom I don’t like baby sister smashing my Lightning McQueen, she should have her own race cars. She can smash them.”

Instead of ignoring him and telling him for the 100th time that she’s just a baby and she didn’t mean it. I stood up and announced: “I think I should write that down … that sounds like a good idea.”

He smiled and picked up his car.

Dude.

I was unaware of the power of writing it down. I have used that many times this week. However I have also tried to master rephrasing the word “no.” Apparently kids hear that a lot, and in truth they need to hear it sometimes. But putting a positive spin on “no” can sometimes make the task so much easier. Instead of “No we can’t go to the golf course right now,” I use “It’s pretty hot outside why don’t we play in the pool first and then go to the golf course when it’s cooler.”

That one was pretty sweet. Watching Mad Men and Donald Draper can help you with your word magic.

Rubin suggests two other notes that I found helpful. “Wave my magic wand,” as in if I had a magic wand I’d make Go Diego, Go! appear right now instead of saying you need to understand the cable is out.

And last but not least “admitting that a task is difficult.” Just because I find it easy to make it to the bathroom in the middle of the night doesn’t mean it’s easy for my four-year to wake up and do it himself. Sometimes Pull-Ups Training Underwear are still necessary.

As a parent did these things make me happy? Well … it provided a less stressful environment and that made me happy. But  in truth I can’t always write everything down. I will have to say no loudly from time to time. The magic wand does not always exist when disaster strikes and I’ve only had four hours of sleep. And, learning to cowboy up and mastering a task is important, especially when it involves urine. Meltdowns will happen, and there will be attitude adjustments that simply need a time-out and a ban from Lightning McQueen race cars.

This is parenthood.

And even though some of Rubin’s parent tips currently work with my four-year old at this time, once he hits his junior high school and high school status I might have to resort to my substitute teacher methods, because teenagers are a whole new breed.

 

Advertisements

8 Responses to “Happiness Project Update 10: Parenthood … Where Everyone Has a Meltdown”

  1. lameadventures August 19, 2012 at 6:37 PM #

    Hey! I’m over fifty and I still have all my teeth — sans one (thanks to a dentist that was an indirect descendant of Josef Mengele screwing up). Of course, I don’t have kids … In your case, I prescribe a chocolate chill pill chased with a glass of red wine. Plus, look on the bright side, you’re still almost a decade away from the teen years.

    • The Guat August 19, 2012 at 9:36 PM #

      A chocolate chill pill and glass of red wine sound AWESOME! I’m going to take that suggestion.

  2. eof737 August 22, 2012 at 12:03 AM #

    Good idea dear Guat! 😆

    • The Guat August 22, 2012 at 12:10 AM #

      I’m trying … I’m trying.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. My Happiness Project Update 11: Parenthood is All About Angles, Even If Some of Them Require 243 Pieces. « The Wish Factor - August 27, 2012

    […] Happiness Project Update 10: Parenthood … Where Everyone Has a Meltdown (thewishfactor.wordpress.com) […]

  2. My Happiness Project Update 12: Finding Gratefulness in Ordinary Days … And Not the Artificial Kind. « The Wish Factor - September 6, 2012

    […] Happiness Project Update 10: Parenthood … Where Everyone Has a Meltdown (thewishfactor.wordpress.com) […]

  3. Happiness Project Update 14: The Lemon Squeezer « The Wish Factor - October 4, 2012

    […] Happiness Project Update 10: Parenthood … Where Everyone Has a Meltdown (thewishfactor.wordpress.com) […]

  4. Happiness Project Final Update: I’ve Learned to Embrace the George Costanza Phase of My Life | The Wish Factor - July 12, 2013

    […] Happiness Project Update 10: Parenthood … Where Everyone Has a Meltdown […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: