19 August 2009

Good old Guilt

I'm in the middle of a frustrating season with my kiddos, particularly #2. I'm guessing it's because she's #2, and is suffering from "middle-child syndrome" or something.

Too often the atmosphere around here has been full of whining, crying, bickering, screaming, and lots of short people standing in corners for extended periods.

It's enough to make a momma want to run away and hide.

Yesterday, I'd had it.
HAD IT. The two oldest have been just downright mean to the youngest one all summer long. Just nasty mean, and I'm sick of it! So yesterday morning, I let 'em have it with both barrels.

"This is not acceptable! We don't treat each other that way in this family! I've had enough of you two being so mean and unkind and unloving and selfish and greedy!"

It went on like that for a few minutes at a loud volume.
(ahem, I can be rather loud.)

Next, I banished them upstairs to make their bedroom "sparkle" and checked on their progress periodically. Then an hour went by and I hadn't seen them. All was quiet. I decided to leave them alone and enjoy the quiet.

Soon they came bounding down the stairs and before I knew it, the kitchen was a flurry of activity as they prepared lunch --
for their little sister! They were helping her get some juice, made her a sandwich, brought her some toys... all with this sweet, happy, sing-songy conversation, "Mom, we decided we needed to be more kind and loving. Cause it's not good to be mean, and we thought you'd be more pleased if we were helpful and loving. After all, she's our baby sister and we're supposed to be teaching her things!" They went all-out being NICE, and Chris and I stood there watching, trying not to bust out laughing.

'Twas a pleasant afternoon, with no more whining, crying, screaming or bickering. A miracle? As far as I'm concerned!
The best part was when #1 said to me, "Mom, you know what? The more I'm nice to her, the more love I feel in my heart, and the easier it is to be nice to her!"

Well, well... out of the mouths of babes.

"Yes, honey, isn't it wonderful how God does that? The more we love, the more love He gives us in our hearts."
She smiles up at me, very pleased with herself. I was pretty pleased, too.

"Dear Lord, may they always love each other and stick together."


Sarah said...

That is wonderful, Jennifer! Praise the Lord that it sunk in for them, huh?! I can relate to the 2 oldest picking on the youngest ... I have that a lot in this house. The "trio" is very close in age, and so someone is always left out, usually the youngest. I get so mad at how mean they can be! I don't understand fully what is going on. I have to keep praying for them to grow in love for each other. I hope that type of sisterly friendship for them so much!

Mary333 said...

Isn't it sweet when children come out with words like these? I had to smile when I read this. It's often when we least expect it.

GrandmaK said...

Good job, MOM! Know how you felt, but it's funny once you get the "mother's union card" from the Sisterhood of Parenting no one will allow you to turn it in. Dues may be high but the rewards are great! Have a grand day and thank you! Cathy

Dirtdartwife said...

Oiy... sounds like days at our house and I think it drives me more insane than my yelling at them to stop. I'm so glad they figured it out! :)

SQUELLY said...

I am the youngest - I feel for the little sister! sounds like you did a wonderful job - some wise words from the kids too!

Anne said...

Yep! We've had plenty of days like that too, still do! I was a bit afraid when you mentioned the quiet. I thought trouble might be in the works! Thought you might say they destroyed the bedroom or something! So glad it all came out so wonderfully! Now you can sigh from relief for some momentary peace until the next episode... :)

Aussie Therese said...

that is so wonderful. Our house can get like that too.

~ Judy ~ said...

WOW! Did you tape record yourself?
That way, you can just hit the play back button when it happens again since it worked so good the first time!!!!

Homeschoolmum4Christ said...

Hi Jennifer,
We don't have three children, but the two that we do have can get very picky at times, :P but at other times can be soooo loving.

It's important to stamp it out early.


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