We have now purchased and are listening to the Kirk Martin CDs. My mind is blown! I am seeing everything, including myself in a different light, and I think I really am ready to, as Kirk says, grow up. I am not only seeing my own children in his descriptions, but myself as well. Kevin felt that much of it applied to him also, and we are all being fulfilled. Our family is now actively working on establishing CALM as a way of life, and we've made an agreement that this is our goal. The children still have tantrums, yes. They still have all thier own thoughts and feelings. But Kevin and I are able to remain solid within ourselves rather than be sucked in. We understand that yelling, being annoyed, and losing our tempers is childish, and only children are supposed to do those things while they are learning. Children also test us, to see if we can be pushed or moved. We understand that we want to pass those tests so we can be relied on in good times and bad. We want to be different from our parents' generation. We want our kids to make their own choices, while we choose the consequences, and sometimes let natural consequences do the teaching. No yelling, no pulling out our hair, no exasperated "These kids are driving me crazy!" We get it now that the ONLY way for kids to drive us crazy is if we LET them. We are apologizing when we start to get anxious, and feel stronger and more in control because of it. Imagine! Apologizing to our kids on a regular basis! I never thought that it would be so empowering, but it really is!
Another word about Kirk Martin. I had written him many times and told him all about my family and our struggles. I think my first words to him were something like, "My husband and my children won't listen to me unless I yell, and I hate it!" Each time I wrote him, I expected him to forget who I was, since he gets hundreds of letters every day. He works with thousands of people, and I assumed he had no idea who I was. Well, when we got the cds, we ordered a small pack of 5 parenting cds since it was all we could afford. That was all we put on the invoice.
It came with two squeezy toys, one for Kaylee and one for Peter, and he threw in the marriage cds at no extra charge. He did this with no note, no fanfare, but it touched me, and wow, it is all helping so much! Kevin listens to them, and enjoys them as much as I do, and I feel like our whole family is finally working together and we're all striving for the same goal. It is like a warm blanket just rested over our home, and the kids and we are suddenly much calmer and more secure in ourselves.
I trust myself now. How could I expect the kids to trust me when I didn't trust myself? I was ashamed of every time I got irritated and angry, but I didn't know how not to! Now I know how, and it's not that complicated. It's all about having a plan, and knowing what I'm doing. It's about looking inside the kids instead of addressing their outward behavior. It's about being proactive and not reactive, and this can help in every relationship and even just individually. I know I sound like a broken record, but this is truly amazing, the changes coming over my family right now.