Positively Influencing Your Child in Three Steps

A speck of dirt on his shiny red convertible causes my husband more stress and anxiety than just about anything (says the woman who vacuums and dusts the interior of her own car on a daily basis). In fact, he stresses so much about his car being dirty that it is beginning to rub off on our three-year-old, who now retrieves baby wipes from her baby sister’s nursery each time she finishes riding her Cadillac Escalade power wheel around the yard so she can clean it. My husband’s habit never really bothered me in the past, but seeing that our daughter recognizes it makes me wonder what other slightly insane habits we have that may rub off on our children. In an effort to ensure that they are happy, healthy and free of crazy we have implemented a few lifestyle changes that we hope will teach our children positive actions.

Redirecting OCD

As previously mentioned, I have a love affair with cleanliness in my car. Unfortunately, I have a three-year-old and a fourteen-month-old who just don’t feel the same way. While I love that my kids are healthy, I cringe every time they ask for a snack in the car, wishing it wasn’t against my better judgment to just let them starve until we are home. Instead of panicking about it, I’ve started laying towels on the back floor boards, beneath their car seats and on the seat between them. This way I can shake off the towels after our trips and get my car back to its clean state in no time. Since I don’t want my kids to have any weird OCD issues like myself, I have found ways to redirect my problems so they are less noticeable to my girls. I can still be as crazy as I want, but they notice it less.

Frequent Bathroom Breaks

For the most part we’ve been blessed with pretty good kids. However, they have their moments, which always seem to happen at the same time. I don’t want to ever be the kind of parent who screams at my kids and makes them feel that I don’t love them, so when they drive me to insanity I clench my teeth and excuse myself to use the restroom. I then sit in the master bath for a few minutes (with the fan on and the door locked to drown out their noise and to keep them out) and I do one of two things. I scream into a towel or I do a few minutes of calming yoga. When I’m calm, I leave the restroom and handle my kids’ less than ideal behavior. No yelling, no (well, almost) screaming and my kids are learning that we handle anger with a calm demeanor and patience.

Letting Go

To prevent myself from going crazy or from my kids from learning crazy from me, I’ve had to let a lot go. I’ve had to learn that I might have to come home to toys on the floor and an imperfect house from time to time if I want to get anywhere on time. I have had to learn that I can’t please everyone and that if so and so is offended that I give my kids a giant m&m cookie at 9 am just so I can grocery shop in peace (and without missing my smallest daughter’s 10 am morning naptime) they’re just going to have to be offended. Now that I’m a mom I’ve had to realize (my husband still doesn’t understand why it took me four years to realize this when he’s been telling me on a daily basis) that my house only looks like its former perfect self after my kids go to bed – and that I should wear slippers around the house during the day or I will spend the day doing nothing but mopping.


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