"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:
- Go to a quiet place to calm down.
- Take a deep breath and count to 10 when he gets angry.
- Ask friends and family for space.
- 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.)
- Express emotions and fears.
- Focus on the many things that make him happy rather than the one or two things making him unhappy.
- 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 kids...it'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!