I picked up my kids from school at 12:30 after our Love and Logic session yesterday. My 9 year old son was not in a good mood and I knew from experience of every early dismissal day that he was very hungry. He was not in a good mood to be nice to me or his sister. By the time we got home, they got into a fight over the leftover food in the fridge and My son started yelling at his sister and left the kitchen in anger. On his way to his room he bumped into me to show his frustration. I gave it a couple of minutes until he came back and I said to both my kids very softly: oh, you know what......this is such an energy drain for me. Yelling, screaming and disrespectful treatment get so much of my energy that I may not have enough left for helping you with your things or driving you around this afternoon.....unless we find a way to put some positive energy back in mommy.
My son did not take me seriously, but my daughter knew I was. Very quickly, she manged to divide up the left over food for both of them and called her brother for lunch and went out of her way to make everything right. I thought to myself: One, check...one more to go!
Half an hour later, when my son asked me about his baseball practice time. He realized that I was serious about not taking him. Then, he started crying, guilting me that no mom would do that, etc...I just told him, I know.... A few "I know"s later, he calmed and realized that his tactic was not going to work. He asked how can he possibly fix the energy drain. I said I can give him some ideas. Of course, any of my suggestions were too much for him followed by another guilt trip from him and "I know"s from me.....
Eventually, I left the room to do something and when I came back 15 minutes later, I found him folding laundry. I was about to fall on the floor......I thanked him and told him that was very helpful. He was not happy, but was doing the work. It was funny that he said: "You are making me work for you" and "I thought people are not allowed to have slaves any more". I told him very gently that I wish I had unlimited energy, but the reality is I don't. You being helpful gives me energy to help you later.
It was interesting that our conversation eventually changed direction and he suggested that I go lay down in bed to gain energy faster while he did the laundry.
I was amazed to see that not only did he end up doing the work and but was actually showing concern for me.
Yeah mom! This whole situation was textbook L&L. The key seems to be mom keeping calm in the midst of the wrath from her son. Awesome!