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Let's Talk Kids
Tue April 1, 2014
The Chaos Crescendo
You rise with the sun, planning for a happy day with your children. You walk into your daughter’s room to wake her for school and discover urine-soaked sheets, again.
You calmly strip the bed and run the bath for the requisite clean-up you hadn’t really allowed enough time for. You get this one headed to the tub and throw the linens in the washer just before you go wake your other child.
You lay your hand on his head to say good morning, and discover a burning fever. He moans that he’s sick and your mind begins planning for his absence from school, his need for medical attention, and the resulting impact on your day.
After tender ministrations to the sick one, you return to the bather to find her in a foul mood. Angry at herself for the accident, she takes her ire out on you, resisting your efforts to help her get ready. She hates the clothes you planned for her to wear and refuses to eat the cereal she insisted you buy at the store.
You feel your good humor dissipate thirty minutes into your day as your stress level rises. It’s happened again at your house: the Chaos Crescendo.
Every parent can take some level of stress with children. But for each of us, there’s a tipping point at which our own resources for peace and perspective falter.
Dealing with urine-soaked bedding is not pleasant, but most parents can manage it. But add a sick child and the ugly resistance to dressing and breakfast, and you see the toxic effect of the accumulation of chaos.
This chaotic crescendo is a frequent reality when we’re raising kids. The challenge is finding our way off the ledge when our stress has gotten the best of us.
Here’s one idea that sounds superficial but really works: When you feel the crescendo, find something to laugh about with your kids. Laughter provides an emotional release everyone needs at that point and moves you out of your expectations of perfection.
Chaos occurs in every family. The really smart ones figure out how to laugh their way out of it.