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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Well, folks, this blog is about the good and the bad of parenting, and today we bring you the bad.

Right now, the older boys are in their room and I’ve told them not to talk to me for a while.

I’ve been frustrated for the past several days at the increasing lack of sensitivity to my voice on the part of the older boys. Seems like I have to ask them to do something, then ask again, then raise my voice to get them to do it. And this is just to get them to eat breakfast.

Yes, I have tried to come up with some Love and Logic techniques to address the situation. No, I haven’t thought of any. Part of it is me just not sitting down and refreshing my mind by reading a chapter or two in the book. I’ve been occupied a bit too much with too many things. None of them take a lot of time individually, but my focus is spread too wide. (I did start taking steps to remove some activities from my life and I’m hopeful that by the end of the month I’ll have 2 responsibilities removed; I’ll be working on cutting something somewhere else as well.)

Anyhow, back to today’s little problem. After breakfast we started schoolwork. Got right through spelling and Latin no problem. Then we got the writing work out. Today’s assignment is to address an envelope. I had to go to the bathroom and couldn’t find my box of envelopes, so I called down the hall and told them they could play for ten minutes while I was in the bathroom and subsequently locating my envelopes.

My new quilting magazine was in the bathroom, and I was just looking at the second article when I heard the glass shatter. Thudding footsteps came toward the bathroom and I heard The Mercenary say they needed to get something to clean that up. I hollered for them to come tell me what happened. Turns out they were throwing balls at each other and one ducked and the ball broke the glass.

Who threw what was immediately the subject of an argument. Of course. Remembering some pretty good advice from Stu yesterday, I told them calmly but directly that I was very angry that they didn’t obey house rules while I was in the bathroom. They’re almost ten years old, and EVERY time they get rough they hear the same thing from me: someone’s going to get hurt, you’re being too wild, that’s an outside activity.

That’s when I asked them what broke.

I was expecting to have to clean up a plate or glass in the kitchen. Wrongo. They broke the glass shade off the light in the younger boys’ room. Did I mention that there was a CFL lightbulb behind that shade? Yeah. There was. So now there’s mercury contamination in the room. On their beds, in their sheets, and on the carpet. And you’re not supposed to vacuum it up.

I told the boys to go to their room and close the door because I was too angry. Then I called Hubby and updated him. I didn’t realize at first that the bulb was broken and thought that it was just a glass cleaning effort. When I went back in to start cleanup, I noticed the bulb was broken. Called Hubby back and told him, then I went and yelled at the boys.

Yes. I yelled. All they had to do was obey the house rules. “No throwing balls in the house” has been in effect since they were about 3. In my humble opinion, 6+ years is enough time to learn the rule. Even the Love and Logic book says that the occasional parental meltdown can be instructive for children. If the parent is severely inconvenienced by the infraction then the child can learn from the whole thing. Did I think that all out before I yelled? Nope. Just got mad and yelled. I’ll admit it.

So. I’ve calmed down considerably while telling you the whole story. I’m off to check the EPA guidelines for cleaning up broken CFLs and then have a calmer talk with the boys.

Wish us luck.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who are really, really, mad.