Monday, April 30, 2012

Parental Prescription

On my book shelves I have no less than 10 parenting books, so I feel like I’ve read a lot about “good parenting.” Unfortunately, good parenting isn’t about what you know, it’ about what you do.

Before you think I’m being self deprecating, let me tell you, I’ve tried a heap of all those recommendations. But sometimes, they simply don’t work for me.

Since necessity is the mother of invention, I’ve had to invent some...shall we say...unconventional methods which I use only in my direst parental circumstances.

Take for instance the late afternoon.  There’s something sinister and uncanny about the late afternoon—after nap, school and snack but before supper. Whether it’s the effects of fatigue or hunger, for either the children or me, I don’t know. But around 4:30 squabbling, complaining, and equally desperate pleas for justice and food begin to sound like so many nails on a chalk board.

As all my parenting books and even The Good Book recommend, I try to respond to each request with patience, gentle constructive words and consequences that fit the crime. But sometimes, when my breathing becomes rapid and shallow, I have to pull out my “behavioral inhaler” as I call it.

Just like an asthmatic sometimes needs assistance breathing, so does a mom fixing supper. When the sizzling of browning burger is accompanied by multiple children clamoring for a pet fish, tattling on a sibling and suffering from “starvation,” it’s time to lay down your spatula and take a big draw on your behavior inhaler—your iPod.

Insert ear buds, crank the volume just enough to drown out the afore mentioned cacophony, and let your heart and mind be soothed by music—the language of the soul! You’ll still see their lips moving and know they’re breathing. You’ll still feel tugging on your arms and know they’re nearby and safe. You’ll still see the child holding the empty fish bowl with a demanding look in his eyes. But you’ll hear none of it.

Ahhh, breath deeply!

With each successive song your vital signs will return to normal range, the children will lose interest because of your pleasant but unresponsive face and supper will be served, possibly with a smile.

I realize this merely masks the underlying problem, but several minutes of musical medicine may be the perfect prescription for that vexing hour.

What's your unconventional parental prescription?


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  2. I find this vexing hour is particularly brutal on Wed nights before church. I've realized because we actually have a deadline to be somewhere on time.
    Unconvention #1- stop reading parenting books *gasp*
    Unconvention #2- spend some time with the actual rascals because really they just need a hug or something. they have been jagged around all day and just need someone to invest in them even for 5 minutes
    Unconvention #3- don't walk away and leave your homemade granola to burn in the oven while you do #2
    Unconvention #4- a little wine sometimes helps lifts the spirits to handle the cacaphony with a lighter touch
    Unconvention #5- don't do #4 very often, especially if you have to be somewhere (like church!)
    Unconvention #6- never mind this entire comment :)