Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Using the Tools in Our Tool Belt

It was especially quiet in the car on the way to school today.  Then I heard my five-year-old son say,

"Mom, I used a tool from my tool belt this morning."  

At first I didn't know what he was talking about. When I asked him what he meant, he said

  "When you said I couldn't wear those black shoes, I was really mad.  So, I came to the car where it was quiet so I could calm down and be in control of my choices. I used a tool."  

Huge smiles this morning!  Times like this are so affirming as mothers...reminders that we really ARE making a difference. The words and lessons we share with our kids ARE sinking in.  The past few weeks I've used the analogy of tools in a tool belt to fix things when it comes to helping my son make better choices and take control of his actions/words that stem from strong emotions.

Some of his tools:  

  1. Go to a quiet place to calm down. 
  2. Take a deep breath and count to 10 when he gets angry.
  3. Ask friends and family for space.  
  4. Use his words in a way where others can hear him (sharing his words with respect instead of throwing his words at others.  It's not always what we say but HOW we say it.) 
  5. Express emotions and fears.  
  6. Focus on the many things that make him happy rather than the one or two things making him unhappy.  
  7. Try to let things go when you aren't getting what you want by focusing on something else you like to do.  The "Oh well, maybe later." tool.

Tools fix things. They help us accomplish a task and work towards something constructive rather than destructive.  This analogy isn't just helpful for my's helpful for me.  We all have tools. We have the tools to respond and act in the ways that compliment how we want our life to be.

If I think of all the tools I have in my tool belt that are unique to me, I'd say many of them are similar to the tools I've been helping my son use.  I truly understand this little guy with his box full of strong emotions and quirks (fear, anger, worry, frustration, getting overwhelmed easily, wanting to be in control, a little obsessive...) and I hope we can keep working together to make our days what we want them to be.  Parenting him has most definitely helped me grow into a stronger person.  Helping him work through his fears and emotions has meant having to do the same for myself.

 So, yes, kids, use your tools in life!  Mom will her hers too!



  1. I saw this on FB and thought it was such a great story!
    You are an incredible mom. This is one of those lessons that many adults need to learn!!

    1. Thanks Kim. I don't think I'm any more incredible of a mom than the next. :) And yes, it is a lesson that I am still teaching myself! :) My son is a mini-me when it comes to the way his mind works.

  2. You must be the most emotionally balanced person I've ever known. lol I'm reading this thinking, "Wow, I would have NEVER thought to put it like that." It's a good thing I don't have kids. I'll take animal psychology over the human mind any day!

    1. Pam, ha!! Far from the "most emotionally balanced person!!" The reason I do think of things like this to help my son with his emotions is because I have used these analogies with MYSELF with my own emotions. I'm also an over thinker and way too hard on myself so one of MY tools in my tool belt is: focus on the things I am doing right and not on only all the things I see that I still feel like I'm messing up with.

  3. Wow! What a great reminder from your son! Love this post and yes, I am making an effort to use some of these tools too... thanks for such an uplifting post!

    1. Thanks Elle. Good to hear from you. Things like this help me as much as they do him...reminding him to use his tools as a kid, reminds me to us my tools as a mother!! And much of them are the same as his.

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  5. Yay!! I love moments like this! I need to work on this with my kids. Great advice. :-)

  6. That is just huge! You're teaching him some great life-skills and. even better, he's learning them.