I have a confession to make. I have previously shared that patience is not my best skill. When I get out of the zen zone, it follows a predictable pattern of 1) impatience 2) authoritarian dictator-like yelling (“hurry up and finish eating” and “get your shoes on” being the most common phrases and 3) sarcasm (which is not helpful with, for example, a two year old). I am not proud of this behavior. My kids have given it a name: Dinosaur Mom. I pray every day to have more patience with my kids. I succeed and I fail. I apologize. Most days are pretty good but there can be a string of not so good ones every now and again.
I’d like to thank all the wonderful elementary and preK teachers who have taught my children and implemented positive behavioral supports such as a green-yellow-red light or pull a card systems. These systems have varied by teacher but basically they’re intended to help kids self-monitor. You’re on green…keep it up. You lost your warning cube…let’s turn this day around. Pulled your red card…parent phone call. Things like this.
One morning a couple months ago on the way to school and my son said “Mom, you didn’t yell this morning…you stayed on green.” I almost died.
Then I inquired more about what happens if I do yell. He and my daughter then started devising an elaborate system that goes something like this:
- Green: no yelling, leave the house on time, everyone is calm and respectful
- Blue: I lost my warning cube with impatience
- Yellow: I yelled
- Red: I’m not even sure because we’ve never gotten there, but I think they have to borrow my phone to call their grandparents on me
We talk about this system in the car literally every morning. I don’t know if it’s helpful or just one more thing they can tell their own therapist some day, but it has added an element of humor to sometimes troubling times. I’ve been on green a lot lately. Maybe having this mommy positive behavioral support is in place is working.
To all the other Dinosaur Moms – wishing you a green day or maybe even purple, which my kids say is above green and is reserved for days when I’m “extra nice…or it’s someone’s birthday.”