There is a tipping point.  It is the place we arrive when we can no longer tolerate a behavior from our children.  Your tipping point looks much different from mine.  In fact, it is highly likely that we are distraught over entirely different behaviors from our children.  As each child is unique, so are each child’s parents and what we can and can’t tolerate.

In August of last year, I wrote a post about changing frustrating behaviors one at a time as to not to overwhelm yourself.  You can read it by clicking here: 

TODAY SHOES, TOMORROW THE WORLD!

The idea is to focus on the one behavior that is making you crazy and try to get a handle on it.  My current challenge is that my boys constantly ask me what time it is.  Apparently they are under the impression that I am their personal time-keeper.  I get asked this about fifty times a day.  Even if they are a foot away from a tablet or phone that they could easily look up the time themselves, inevitably I hear the shout, “Mom! What time is it?!?”

I couldn’t take it anymore.  I had to formulate a plan.  Things like time-out seemed too ironic in this particular case and I didn’t want to go too harsh either.  All I knew is that I needed something that I could use consistently until it impacted the pesky behavior.

Then, it hit me like lightning.  Every time they asked me ‘what time is it?’, I would say: “It’s time for a hug!”  I would completely ignore telling them the actual time and instead go straight in for a hug.  

I didn’t have to wait long before my youngest chirped, “Mom!  What time is it?”

I dropped what I was doing, I mean it was something boring like laundry so I didn’t mind the interruption, and raced over to hug the unsuspecting time-questioner.  

“It’s time for a hug!” I shouted with glee.

They both looked up at me perplexed.  My youngest son groaned.  I swooped in a gave a long, dramatically exaggerated hug.  Naturally, I loved every second of it.  As for my son?  He was significantly less enthused.  While in general they respectfully understand that I am an affectionate mom and hugs happen, they don’t go out of their way to line up for them.  They are nine and eleven and hugging their mom isn’t a top priority.

It took about three days and countless hugs, but miraculously, they no longer ask me for the time.  I’m going to miss those hugging opportunities, but I have a feeling a tipping point for something else may soon arise, and boys, be prepared for mom to hug your faces off!

Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent

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