The other day I was thinking about how much affect my mood really has on my kids. I mean, is it just coincidence that when I am in a bad mood they seem to have not so great behavior, or when I’m in a good mood they seem to have pretty good behavior? Maybe when I’m in a good mood I just have more patience to deal with them versus when I’m not. Then again, it has been proven that children are especially sensitive to the moods and attitudes of the people around them, especially the adults. Then I started thinking about how their mood affects me, or if it really does. How sensitive am I to their disposition?
Most days I wake up in a pretty good mood. After all, it’s a brand new day. Yesterday is gone and we’re starting with a fresh, clean slate. Regardless of how the kids’ behavior was the day before, right up until falling asleep for the night, or how many times the two-year-old got up during the night, I try to greet them with a loving attitude. That being said, there have been mornings when I do not wake up in a good mood and am not necessarily that loving when I wake them up or say good morning. So, I’m wondering how much the way I wake them up affects their mood and attitude for the day, or at least the morning.
For the most part, when I wake them with hugs, kisses, and tickles they seem to wake up with smiles or at least decent attitudes. The arguing or complaining usually doesn’t start right away. The opposite is also true; when I am not so loving and I pretty much just turn on the light and say, “Time to wake up!” they wake up whiny and complaining. Then again, there have been times when I’ve woken them up gently and they are whiny and complaining, or I’ve woken them up abruptly and they are happy.
What about their mood? I mean how much does my mood or attitude change depending on theirs? I can definitely say that cranky whining, especially first thing in the morning, is not a good thing for me. That really irritates me and I have a tendency to not be all that sympathetic.
For example, when my six-year-old has woken up in a bad mood, yelled at his sister and brother for looking in his direction, refused to eat breakfast because he didn’t get a specific Zoo Pals utensil, stomped off to his room in a crying huff when I addressed his attitude, and then screamed that he didn’t want to go to school because school is boring! I would definitely have to admit that by that point my mood is absolutely affected! I try not to take it out on his younger siblings, but again I must confess that I’m guilty of that sometimes.
When I’m having a relatively good, productive day it is true that I am more patient and nicer to my kiddos, and they seem to be more patient and nicer to each other. Even the usual misbehavior and disagreements seem to be easier to deal with and solve when I exercise patience and maintain a positive attitude. When I’m rushing around like a chicken, minus its head, that is when their behavior seems to be the worse and when all three seem to need something immediately and simultaneously!
Many a time I have had to catch myself about to explode. The kids definitely can read my distressful body language, even if it’s just the look on my face, and hear the strained tone of my voice. At that point they know that Mommy has reached her limit. I have even heard my oldest say to the other two in a very authoritative tone, “Now is not the time! Mom needs some space so let’s just work it out.” How very astute of him.
I have witnessed how, when my children are not in very good moods or at odds with each other, one of the quickest ways to break the negativity is for me just to be silent and smile or make a silly face at them. I don’t even have to say a word and before long they are laughing and jumping on me, begging me to make more faces or check out theirs. Soon the reason for all the craziness, from them and me, is forgotten or at least put away for awhile. They say laughter is the best medicine, and whoever “they” are were right!
I guess it is safe to say that my moods affect my children just as their moods affect me. This is true for any and all close relationships. I am still affected by my mother’s mood when I talk to or see her, and I’m thirtysomething years old! We all have things that happen to us during the day that positively or negatively affect us. With that in mind, as a parent I will make a conscious effort to control my moods and attitudes so that I can affect my children more often in a postive way. Just maybe they will affect me and others more positively as well.