Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Other Side of the Story

This week I shared a ton of pictures and fun Wood Family Adventures. Lest you think that our family time together is all smiles and laughter and nostalgic photographs, I thought I'd give you a peak at the "behind the scenes" of our vacation. The out-takes and bloopers, if you will.

The reality for most (probably all) of us is that our kids are not always adorable and cheerful. In fact, quite the opposite can be true. You may be in a season where it feels like you only catch glimpses of the adorable/cheerful side of your child and the majority of the time you find yourself struggling to maintain composure with the ornery/ungrateful/contrarian/defiant/highly-emotional-in-a-not-so-good-way side of your "sweet angel".

And that can suck the life out of anyone.

Caedmon has two polar opposite sides to his personality. One is all sweetness, tenderness, kisses, and laughter. And in those moments, I could just eat him with a spoon! It only takes a glimpse at this side of him to melt my hardest heart.

The other side to the Caedmon Coin is, well, quite different than that one. And the crazy thing is, you never know what you're going to get. 

Our first night in Sacramento we went to get some pizza. A picture says a thousand words...

The attitude carried over to the next morning which required Andy & Caedmon to have some heart-to-heart time in our hotel bathroom...which was not the way we wanted to start our vacation.

On Wednesday afternoon when we got home from Sacramento (after spending 3 days at the zoo, Chuck-E-Cheese, children's museum, and Chick-Fil-A), Caedmon got upset about something and screamed, "I never get to do anything I want to do! I never do anything fun!"

As we were heading out the door to meet our friends for our Thanksgiving feast, Caedmon informed us that, "This is not what I had planned to do today."

A couple days ago, after spending the morning inside playing with and reading to the boys, I suggested we go outside to get some fresh air. Caedmon had a blast playing dodge ball with me, but then turned on a dime when I said let's ride our bikes to the playground. Screamed and cried the whole way there. It was so bad, in fact, that we actually just turned around and came back home where Caedmon had to play by himself in his room for an hour while Sammy and I played cars, trains, and puzzles.

I am not at all trying to make Caedmon out to be some horrible, no good, problem child. I would move mountains for that kid. I love him to pieces. And, after Caedmon spent an hour in his room, he was nothing but sweetness the rest of the day...well, until one more episode around 7:00.

You've been there, right? Every parent has. I remember when I was about 8 or 9 years old saying to my parents (in the middle of my birthday party that they had worked very hard to pull off) "This is the worst birthday party ever!"

What do you do in those moments? Do you yell, "You ungrateful spoiled brat!" Do you let it ruin the whole vacation or family time?

Andy & I are working very hard to think of consequences that speak loud and clear to the "offender" but  don't hurt the rest of the family.
  • We're not going to stay home from some fun activity that we planned just because you have a bad attitude. But you will have to sit on the sidelines and watch instead of getting to participate in the fun when we get there.
  • We're not going to forgo dessert as a family just because you turned up your nose to the dinner I cooked. But you'll have to save your dessert for tomorrow once you've eaten a good meal. 
The truth is, no matter how hard you try to minimize the fall-out, a bad attitude or bad behavior from one child does affect everyone else. It's really unavoidable to some extent.

But, as parents, we cannot allow their attitudes to dictate ours.  That gives the child way too much power and control. Plus, it is our job to set the tone for our family. Sometimes that means you force yourself to laugh and have fun with your spouse/other child when you're boiling mad on the inside over whatever just happened with the "offender".

We have to hold the offender responsible instead of allowing the offender to hold the rest of the family hostage. 

No comments: