Tolerating Rambunctious Boys
Podcast Episode #135 – Remaining Calm Amongst Chaos
Question of the Day:
How can I increase my tolerance of my rambunctious boys and remain calm more of the time?
I have 3 high energy, loud, boisterous boys who are 3, 9 and 12. I have daily routines, a few clear rules and lots of sports and outdoor time for all of them. But their day to day antics drive me crazy. I can stay calm about 25% of the time, but after that I lose my cool and shout. I’m talking minor things like making constant noises with their mouths, talking loudly constantly, banging on things, burping, bickering constantly etc. I can handle a little bit of this behaviour but nowhere near what they put out. I wish for peace and quiet. I feel so guilty that I’m not role modeling emotional regulation because I lose my cool so often.
I should add that I have an 8yr old step son thrown into the mix every second week. My partner works away. But every second week that he’s home I have him and my step son to deal with also. Including my partner (haha) that makes for 5 boys to wrangle!
Parent Educator Answer: Step into your calm, leadership energy.
When we feel overwhelmed, it’s really easy to want to run away and hide from the chaos, but it will run you ragged. When a parent avoids leadership energy, the kids can increase their antics. Kids need to know they aren’t the strongest person in the room so sometimes they will ramp up their crazy in order to get an adult to step in with authority.
This leadership energy comes from our posture, voice tone, eye contact, words and belief system. Rules, discipline and consequences will fall short if you don’t embody this leadership energy.
Because you mentioned the things that bother you most are noises, my suggestion is to implement a traffic light system in your house to teach your kids to regulate their chaos.
Red means near silence. This is used for bedtime, moments of reverence like saying grace before dinner, watching a movie or someone is on an important call and needs quiet.
Yellow means quiet talking. This can be used for homework time, winding down at the end of the day, visiting with Grandma and Grandpa, dinner time, etc.
Green means be your wild and crazy selves. Burp, fart, talk loudly, whatever you want. Giving your boys permission to be wild lets them know there is nothing wrong with being boys, you just don’t want to be around for it. Go walk the dog or put your noise canceling headset on, until it’s time to go back to yellow or red.
The way we teach kids to regulate is with contrast. When a 4 year old wants to run into the street and not wait for mom to catch up, we play “Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light.” Instead of making them follow our rules, we turn it into a fun game that they enjoy.
You will see “Freeze Dance” happening inside quality pre-school programs. Teaching kids how to go wild, loud and crazy, and then stop. It seems like just a fun game but it’s teaching kids to regulate their bodies and voices.
There is a time to be quiet, a time to be goofy, a time to be serious, a time to wild. You get to decide what works for you inside your home.
When we were kids, we played “House of Manners – House of Mess”. In “House of Manners” everyone spoke with a British accent and dabbed the corners of our mouths delicately with our neatly folded napkins. We used our fork and knife to cut our food into the tiniest portion and used the nicest words we could think of. Then someone would call out “House of Mess” and we’d start talking with our mouths full, blowing bubbles in our milk, eating with our hands. You can guess which one we enjoyed more!
The contrast is what teaches us what is polite and what isn’t. We waited until there were no adults around to play House of Mess because they ruined the fun of it.
You absolutely can teach your kids how to act inside your home, even if it’s innocent things like noise making and bickering. Just like they need to tone that down in a church, library or a place of business, they can learn to tone it down when mom is around. Many kids start experimenting with swearing, but they clean up their act when home with mom.
Life Coaching Answer: What gets in your way from implementing a volume control system at home?
- Feeling overwhelmed. “I don’t want to deal with this” or “I don’t know what to do.”
- Setting rules without calm, leadership energy.
- Feeling disrespected. “They are disrespecting me.”
- Feeling powerless. “Nothing I say matters” “They won’t listen to me” “I have no control”.
Let’s work our way backwards.
You want your house to have more peace and calm.
You decide that teaching your boys to adjust their volume when mom is around is a good plan. You implement a Red/Yellow/Green system to let the boys know what is expected of them. You make it playful and fun, but also serious, like you mean business. You provide reminders and consequences when they don’t respect your rules.
What emotion would you need to be in order to implement and follow through with this new system? Confident? Powerful? Determined?
Feeling powerless is not going to get you the results you want. You’ve got to find a thought that gives you a feeling of confidence, powerful, or determined.
Don’t lie to yourself. Don’t say “I’ve got this” if 90% of your brain is remembering all the times in the past when it didn’t work. But you can think something like…
“It’s ok to ask for what I want.” or
“I can teach my family how to treat me.” or
“This is an important skill I’m teaching my boys.” or
“I am up to the task.”
Even if you are noise sensitive, there are still thoughts about the noise that can make it easier or harder for you to deal with it. Choose the thought that will give you the result you want.
Supermom Kryptonite – Bickering Children and “I don’t want to deal with this.”
This seems like such an innocent thought. Of course you don’t want to deal with bickering children, who does? But when we think it, and we are standing in the room listening to it, it keeps us stuck.
If you have the thought, “I don’t want to deal” and you walk away, you are free.
If you are there, listening to the bickering, and thinking “I don’t want to deal” it’s like a bear trap just closed around your ankles. You want to leave but you don’t. You are stuck, imprisoned by your own psyche.
This feels terrible to our spirit. We are meant to be free. “I don’t want to deal” while staying put causes you unnecessary suffering.
Instead, put your brain and body in the same place. If you are in the room, be there fully. Tell yourself you DO want to deal with this issue because if you didn’t you would walk away.
Supermom Power Boost – Delete subscriptions on your phone
I don’t know if you will love this as much as I did, but I just figured out how to delete itunes subscriptions on my iphone. It was such a quick and easy way to clean out clutter, save money, and simplify my life.
Turns out I was paying a monthly and annual subscription fee for apps I didn’t remember purchasing. With one touch of a button, I deleted them and it gave me such a boost of energy I had to share it.
You just go to settings, click on your name at the top, click on the word subscriptions. See what you’ve got and delete the ones you don’t want!
Compared to canceling a gym subscription, or any other online subscription where they offer you discounts and you have to jump through hoops and many pleas to stay, this was so easy it made it fun!
Try canceling your subscriptions and see if it gives you as much simple pleasure as it gave me!
Quote of the Day:
“Having children is like living in a frat house. Nobody sleeps, everything is broken and there is a lot of throwing up.” Ray Romano
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