I'm sure we're all familiar with cranky kids. In our house we call it the grumblies - these are little bugs that hide in people's ears and between their toes and even in their belly buttons! When a little one has the grumblies (definitely only fun for littles - the biggers would be offended lol ) we have to catch every last one of them and squish them, to make the grumblies go away. It's amazing really - the transformative effect that silliness can have. Really, so often when kids are acting out, if they aren't hungry, tired, or overstimulated, all they are really needing from us is love and attention.
It's so much simpler when they are littles tho. Easier to shift, easier to accept the love and attention once it's offered. Helping them shift requires a whole nother level of skill that I don't always seem to find in me. And yet it's so important, especially in a big family like ours, where there are 5 kids - needing all different levels of attention. It's so easy for the older kids needs to fall by the wayside - in our family - I've seen other families where the older kids' lives took up so much time and space that it was the littles that were needing more. One on one time is something we have always made a huge priority, and that is sooooo helpful. When I see one of my kids out of sorts, I always know that it's time for that mama (or papa) time.
Today tho - today was a little different than usual. A boy was desperately wanting to go to his friends, but it wasn't in the plans, and he was angry. Really really mad. In all honesty I had given up trying to help him shift, out of sheer frustration. We were heading out the door to go up the road to the local nursery for some herbs, and I assumed both my bigger boys would want to stay home. My older boy decided to come tho, and at first he was still mad, but slowly, slowly, as he found himself chasing around with his sisters, a shift happened. It certainly wasn't me. Being all together outside, choosing plants - that was quiet and relaxing, and the air smelled good. There was a request to stop at the river and check the temperature of the water, with high hopes of swimming. We humoured him. It didn't matter that the water was still too cold. He had gotten to a place of ease again. Maybe he's gotten a little bit older. Maybe being with family was what he was actually needing. Maybe..... I don't know. I do know tho that being a kid is harder than we adults would like to admit. Learning how to shift out of that yuck place and back into a pleasant place can be hard even as an adult, so however it happened. I was pleased for him.
Even better tho, was that when we got home, a certain boy followed us out to the garden and proceeded to help with digging and planting leeks!
I think that by far the biggest lesson that I try to remember as a parent, is look past the surface, and a little deeper to the why. Why are they angry, mouthing off, sad, ignoring our requests? It's certainly not because they are bad kids - there's no such thing. Look for unmet needs. That is where I try to direct my attention. Past the swearing. Past the yelling, to the often times hurt feeling that came first, and on to connection. That is where the learning is. Love.