Lane and I have been laughing lately at my “mommyisms.” See, there are a handful of phrases that I keep in my back pocket and use regularly as the right situation arrises. They are phrases that I have either picked up along the way or have heard other mamas I respect use with their own kiddos.
I told Lane that having these phrases helps me because it just gives off the appearance that I actually know what I’m doing.
Which I don’t. See, I don’t follow just one parenting philosophy and I’m sure I don’t get it right 100% of the time. But being consistent helps, and having phrases that the girls know and expect helps.
Having these phrases floating around my head helps me as I deal with the multitude of situations these darling and demanding and exhausting girls present before me every single day.
Maybe even just one of them will help you too.
: How are you going to make it right?
I love this one so much. When one child hurts another or somehow wrongs another, I’ve never really been able to grasp making them walk up, say sorry, gain forgiveness, hug it out and then go on playing. Don’t get me wrong, I have done this too- I just don’t know the life lessons it produces… it feels too forced and too much of a transaction. (Any thoughts on this?? Would love to hear some perspective)
What I love about the How are you going to make this right phrasing is that it places responsibility back on the child. They realize that they have to think through how to right the situation and participate in justice.
: Wait quietly with a happy heart.
So many times we tell our children to behave a certain way without defining what that actually looks like. This phrase is the definition of patience. So instead of telling our girls to “be patient,” we tell them to wait quietly with a happy heart. It gives action to a word, it tells them what is expected of them.
: Let’s try that again.
If Brennan is melting down, being demanding, or just generally being a 3 year old, I tend to say: Let’s try that again. Not an automatic time out; instead a means to give grace, show me that you can do it better.
: Turn that into a question please.
So often I hear: I want some milk! I want to watch a show! Instead of just giving them what they demand, we ask that they turn that phrase into a question. Polite, respectful, loving. And even at my girls’ young ages, they know what to do and quickly rephrase: Can I have some milk please, Mama?
: May I please…
Similar to above, this is how we train our kiddos to ask questions whether it is at the dinner table or to the waiter at a restaurant. No demands here, respectful phrasing.
: Rather than saying no all the time, instead… Yes, when:
Sometimes I feel like the guillotine: No! Stop that! Not now! No, no no. I want our kiddos to hear yes more than no as they grow up. So even if it still is directing them to complete or act on a behavior (Yes you can go play outside when you finish putting away your toys), it is still a positive phrasing.
: You have some pretty big feelings right now, don’t you:
This can encompass a variety of emotions: anger, frustration, sadness, complete and total melt-downs. So often my immediate reaction is to shut them down, react to how they are acting, whether with a timeout or getting frustrated myself. But that doesn’t connect with the child and what they are feeling, it isn’t a compassionate response, coming across as cold and inflexible. Validating that they are having Big Feelings gives me a second to evaluate the situation before responding, but it also affirms to our kiddo that they are feeling sad or angry. We don’t ignore the behavior, just connect with the child before correcting. And then once they calm down we are actually able to teach them how to express feelings appropriately.
: That isn’t good for your special body, let’s have this instead
As we have had Brennan’s wheat allergy officially diagnosed, we have had to remove a lot of foods out of her diet that she dearly loves. She still asks to have bread or rolls, so this is the response we have landed on. I like the phrasing of “your special body,” and then just redirect to something that she can enjoy.