During my 1st trimester of pregnancy I was feeling pretty lousy most of the time, and I must admit that some of my best parenting intentions went out of the window. I felt ill, exhausted and moody, and that made me snappy and irritable. I could see the impact it had on E and my relationship with him. Murphy's law is always so that when you're not at your best, your child will act out as well. Nearly as though there are two children in the equation. And because E has a relatively strong will - this often ended in power struggles, misbehaviour and shouting (from both sides).
Boy am I glad that those months are over! And thank goodness for my mother who picked up a lot of the slack. However, as soon as I started feeling more like myself - I vowed that I would make right and correct the damage or gaps that might have grown between E and I.
What I have been doing for the last couple of weeks and seeing some amazing results, is purely focusing on what E does right, and let him know how pleased he makes me. I brag on him to others (in front of him) as often as I can, and tell him whenever he has done something positive, no matter how small. What I've started doing with him is give him a high 5 for a job well done - whatever it may be. Its lovely to see his face light up and his self esteem soar in these moments.
I find this quote from Dr Laura Markham in her post on the same topic very true:
"Finding fault with kids doesn’t help them change. (Does it help you change?) Children, like other humans, grow and change when they feel loved, accepted, appreciated, respected. That lets them drop the need to defend themselves. It makes them want to cooperate."
I encourage you to read her whole article here. She is a very wise woman.
Why would someone who hears what they are doing wrong all the time want to change? I have found from personal experience, positive affirmation makes me want to be a better person. Why would my child be any different?
If my son hears how happy he makes me and in turn feels good in his own skin, he will act 'good' because he feels 'good'. It is after all my job to build him up, not break his spirit.
"She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness."