This photo was taken of Little One, moments before he decided that he did NOT want to leave the beach and took off running away from me when I attempted to hold his hand and walk toward the parking lot. :(
The beach, the beach was fun. Chasing a VERY FAST four year old down Nauset beach when the sun is setting and bugs are arriving...NOT FUN.
Sometimes it can feel like our children WANT to end things on a sour note.
Why are transitions so difficult? Well, there are a few reasons...and when I say them out loud to myself, I find them comforting. When I remember the tricks I know work (90% of the time) and use them to prevent the running away of my disgruntled four year old...that's even better!
Transitions = Change. Change = the unknown.
It's been my experience that most children handle things better when they're given choices — so they can have some autonomy — but you need to make sure the choices are ones you're prepared to carry out. The trick is to create a win-win situation where there's no struggle for power. One way to do this is with a contest: 'Can you get your shoes on before I get my coat on?' The idea is to let your child feel successful — but you also win, because her shoes are on. Another trick is to be silly: 'Let's see if you can put on your shoes while making a funny face!' Or sing nonsense words, use hand motions, and dance.....but all of this is more work (for us, Mom and Dad). I for one can get tired and as was the case with this situation, I can get lazy at this parenting job. Sometimes I just don't WANT to be creative. Sometimes I just want to say, "Okay, it's time to go." and have my kids do what I am requesting, without having to chase them a mile down the freaking beach!
That being said, I KNOW, I KNOW. I'm just venting here.
One of my favorite authors and inspirational speakers is Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, author of "Raising Your Spirited Child," St. Paul, MN. [When talking about Spirited Children] she says...
"You need to discover and appreciate who's come to live with you. It's important to realize that your child is not trying to be difficult — this is their temperament, how they react to the world. Parents should understand that these kids have traits we value in adults; they are just 'more' — more high energy, passionate, persistent. Parents can help their child manage this intensity by teaching them the skills to understand their triggers, know what soothes them, and help them build the vocabulary to express emotions. Then, parents can show their child how to channel this intensity into a positive outlet."
I try and remember her words whenever I find myself in a situation that makes me want to stamp my feet and scream. ;)
For Little One, ANY transition is a trigger. And my fantasy above, is just that, a fantasy. I can count on one hand, how many times I have simply said, "Come on Sweetie we're leaving, let's go." and he has complied. So, clearly I'm dreaming when I think "but one day he will....". And that's what Mary Sheedy Kurcinka is talking about. And after almost 18 YEARS of parenting, you'd think I would have this down pat. Uh....no.
And you know why? Because I'm human. And so are you. So I guess the point of this post, (if there is one) is to cut yourself some slack. Parenting is hard work. And besides, sometimes, bugs or no bugs, taking a run down the beach can be refreshing. The unexpected is what makes life interesting. And on our long walk back we did find a really cool moon shell :)