Are you one of those moms that does everything for their kids whenever they ask? No? Well, I am. Unfortunately, I’ve reached a point where it’s made me feel totally overwhelmed, even taken advantage of in some cases. My kids started acting totally helpless; “unable” to do anything for themselves. At 4 and 2, there are certain things they can’t do, but most of the time, they just want me to do it for them because that’s what they’re used to. Sometimes it turned into a power struggle and then the following tantrums made me wonder why I shouldn’t just take the easy route and do whatever they ask. The struggle is real people!
Just Say No
I watched Bad Moms the other day and it hit me! Just say no. In the movie, Mila Kunis plays a mother who is over worked and over stressed. Then one day she just said “I quit”. She stopped waiting on her kids hand and foot, stopped doing their school projects for them, stopped letting her boss walk all over her etc. You know what? In the end, it all worked out. The kids survived and actually became more self sufficient and kinder in the end. So I tried it (to an extent 🙂 ) and guess what? It’s working out here too! I obviously don’t say no to everything, but when Gracie asks me to bring her all her toys because she is sitting on the couch playing on her iPad, I gotta draw the line. Use your gut if you’re going to try this too. I’m sure you recognize when they actually need help, versus when they are just acting helpless.
Get Your Kids Talking At The Table
At 4 and 2 you wouldn’t think my kids have a lot to say, but it turns out, they do! It’s become a new rule in our house that we will not only eat together, we will eat at the table without any distractions. I.e. No cell phones, no iPads, no tv etc. Just us. Man oh man did I get some pushback with this, but in the end, it’s actually helping. While we are at the table, I try to keep the topic of conversation on things that interest my kids. I want to encourage open conversation with them and so they know their thoughts and feelings matter. Even if that means learning every single on of Gracelynn’s LOL doll names! I want them to know how important they are and how important what interests them is to me. That extra attention, as simple as it seems, has made them much less needy the rest of the day.
Train Your Kids, But Don’t Let Them Know It
This has actually worked out better than I thought. Some days, I let Grace “take charge” of the house. She plays mom while Anna and I are the kids. The frustration on her face when Anna doesn’t “listen” to her is PRICELESS! But it’s also a good learning opportunity for us. When we encounter one of those instances, Grace and I talk about how frustrating it can be when someone doesn’t do what you ask them to and it seems to be carrying over into her day to day behavior. She’s done much, much better at listening first time told. I’ve also stopped “asking” Grace to do things. Instead, I use when. For example, if she wants to run across the street and play with her friends, but she has yet to clean up her playroom or put her clothes in the hamper, I say “When you finish picking up your toys, then you may go play with your friends.” That means if she wants to go play with her friends, it’s up to her to make it happen.
Asked And Answered
I know your kids ask you for the same thing over and over and over, especially when you give them an answer you don’t like. I can’t remember where I heard it, but someone told me to respond with “asked and answered.” It doesn’t work yet with Anna, she’s 2, but when Gracelynn asks me something repeatedly, I stop what I am doing, get down to her level and have her repeat back to me the answer I gave her. Then I tell her that the question has been asked, answered and if she asks again I will change my mind and say no. So far, I haven’t gotten any pushback, and have had fewer tantrums because we are on the same page, so to speak. I am really hoping that Anna will pick up on this so we can skip over the worst of the tantrums, but only time will tell. 😉 Since I started responding with “asked and answered” we haven’t had nearly as many whiny, repeated questions. Those get a little tiring, right?
Helping your kids escape the “helpless” mindset won’t just benefit you, it will benefit them too. They will feel empowered and confident. They will become eager to be self-sufficient. Do you have any tips on helping your kids escape the helpless act? Let me know in the comments below!