I sat on the floor of my walk-in cupboard with my head in my hands, hiding from my 4 year old son. The noise, the whinging, the tantruming had taken it’s toll and I desparately needed to walk away before I lost the plot.
As I sat in my cupboard, I went through my usual routine of capturing the thoughts that are causing me anger. As I always say, it’s never the event that causes stress (or in this case – anger) it is how I’m perceiving this event.
I’ve found them. The thoughts, that is. They go like this, “I have had enough of this whingeing. I’m sick of arguing every single time that I ask him to do something. I’m sick of having to fight with him to do it. I can’t stand the noise. I’m gonna lose the plot in a minute. He’s constantly being rude and it’s so annoying. Why can’t he just do as I ask him for once?” and on and on these thoughts go, swimming in my head like a goldfish in a fishbowl.
But none of these thoughts are useful. They are all in conflict with the reality that he is just going through a stage. Just like the 4 year olds of my 3 friends that I spoke to the other day. The reality is that he is trying out new behaviour to see what the results are.
So with that reality and having located the destructive thought causing my anger, I decide that I need a plan (this automatically ignites a shift in thinking). If this is the behaviour that is happening right now (reality) then I need a plan of attacking it so that the phase moves on quicker because I can teach him that this behaviour is not appropriate.
So the plan is – to reinforce the laundry time out. Every time he whinges, or is rude I will send him into the laundry for 4 minutes. I need to be consistent. I need to remember, that this is just a stage and I need to teach him how to move through it. That’s the reality of this situation. Any thoughts to the contrary will only cause me stress.
After shifting my thoughts (which were really causing me the anger) and creating a plan, I have successfully moved myself to feeling differently about Ryan’s tantrums and whingeing. I feel empowered, ready and determined rather than angry, ready to scream or lash out.
This change in thinking is what is needed in order to handle these challenges and this is exactly why I have taught you exactly how to change this thinking and accept the reality of the challenges of motherhood in my new book The Happy Mum Handbook. Free yourself from motherhood stress.