Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Stages of (Bad Behavior) Grief

With more than 15 years of parenting under my belt, you'd think I would have caught on to the secret to 99% of my kids' "bad behavior." I guess I've known all along, but I'm just winding down the five stages of grief: Denial ("Not MY children!"), Anger ("I can't believe you just did that!"), Bargaining ("I know they wouldn't have done that if..."), Depression ("I'm so embarrassed s/he did that!"), Acceptance (My name is Wild Squirrel and my children are....um...wild.").

My journey to acceptance began this school year when I had to start waking up at the crack of dawn to take the oldest to a class that begins at 6 am. I noticed that as the year dragged by, I did too! At first I was getting up along with her, ready to tackle the day. I even took the opportunity to run a couple of miles before waking the other three younger children, two of whom were in school. Then, I started to sleep in an extra five or so minutes. Five became ten, ten became twenty....on more than a few occasions SHE was waking ME up! That's when I started to feel guilty...very guilty. Since I was running out of time to get myself ready for the day (i.e., showered, presentably dressed) before the little ones awoke, I was doing so while they were getting ready. Not good. I reasoned that an hour should be plenty of time for a 7, 5, and 3 yr old to get dressed, eat breakfast, and get in the car for the short eight minute drive to school. While I was simultaneously showering. And making lunches. And preparing breakfast. And applying make-up. Um....Nope. It wasn't happening. We started feeling more and more rushed and arriving later and later to school. Not horribly late, mind you, but slipping in the classroom door just as the bell rings is not my idea of being on time. And, we did, horror of horrors, get a couple of tardy slips! It seemed a strong correlation existed between ME getting ready on time, and THEM being ready on time. Imagine that!

Of course, being on time is just one example. So, as much as I dislike the sound of it, I can accept that I perpetuate a few some many of their less-than-desirable behaviors. And I'm okay with that. IF I seize the opportunity to reverse the trend, and I can take credit for a few of their good ones! :)

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