The first thing I remind myself is there’s nothing, and no one, to fix. My kids are happy and the feedback from the outside world is positive.
I ask myself, “With this child, what’s my role?”
My role is to avoid becoming the problem.
- taking care of my sleep, my body, my mind and my habits
- ensuring that I get enough silent time (alone and in nature)
- steering away from the urge for revenge, aggression and anger
All Day Engagement – a bored alpha child makes everyone miserable, including herself. While some kids can putter and amuse themselves (see below), our oldest does best with a structured day with unstructured breaks.
Ritual & Routine – from birth, my wife has done an excellent job of conditioning the kids to relax when their heads are wrapped in a soft cotton blanket. It works so well that our oldest will resist when she doesn’t want to relax. Ritual and routine are soothing to an anxious child.
To give my kids something to latch onto, I’m always explaining the next three steps…
- Dinner, Bike, Shower
- Bath, Pajamas, Story
- Socks, Shoes, Car
- For drives, my Sienna is set up with staggered seating so the kids can’t whack each other. Throwing things in the car is highly frowned upon!
- As they develop, we find that different kids push our buttons. To dial down the house, I’ll take a little “disrupter” on a trip. The trips last anywhere from an an afternoon to a week. Sometimes I take more than one kid.
Mine is a shared activity with one person – I sign up for that a lot.
It’s proven much easier to change my attitude, habits and approach than the core personality traits of my children.