When my child gets sick I usually experience sleepless nights and exhaustion from playing nurse, cleaning, and disinfecting all day long. These things are all stressful enough, but when she doesn’t want to take her medicine it creates this disastrous situation. First, reason being that we both normally don’t sleep well and are not functioning as our usual selves. I know that when I do not sleep well my patience is almost nonexistent. Second, because when my little girl is sick her personality is totally different. She is never her normal sweet self and instead is this grumpy, cranky and angry little human. This is understandable, but again not ideal when I myself am on the verge of just snapping at the drop of a hat. Lastly, the biggest reason is that when your child is sick you are all suffering and just want them to get better. The medicine, whether it’s an antibiotic, Motrin for fever, or something else they need to take, is meant to help them get better and provide much needed relief.
My daughter just went through a few days of consistently having a fever of over 103. We went to the doctor and she didn’t have the flu or strep or anything that she would need an antibiotic for. For the fever I was told to alternate Motrin and Tylenol and for her congestion to take Mucinex. She has no problem with taking Motrin. The process of having her take Tylenol or really any medication where she doesn’t like the consistency or the flavor takes at least a half hour. This is the most grueling half hour.
It consists of me asking her to take the medicine a few times, mixed with some groveling, yelling, various attempts of bribery and shameless begging. I have been through this a few times with her and I know what I am in for each time. This past time though, something just sparked in me and I said to myself, “These methods are not working! Try a different approach!” So I did.
I stopped trying to force it. I started supporting and encouraging her. Instead of saying “C’mon, take it! You have to take it or else!” I said “You can do it! Go Vivi!” I made the whole situation something positive and it was working. Instead of crying and yelling, there was laughter and cheer. After the first few times, she then started reminding me when she needs to take her medicine. Also telling me with great confidence that she is a “big girl” and “big girls take their medicine fast” like her. A small adjustment in my attitude completely changed the outcome of this saga.
All the countless hours of dealing with this horrible situation could have been avoided a lot sooner. Modifying my approach is all it took. The whole
Kill ‘em with kindness
saying really worked here.
So, I started thinking to myself that maybe this could work with other things. Instead of raising my voice and telling her to clean up her toys, maybe I can encourage her to do so. I have learned that being positive is the key. Anytime I find myself getting a little worked up or agitated, I now just take a moment and think about a better way to handle the situation. It almost always works.
Our regular everyday lives are already stressful enough. You could change that just by simply adjusting your approach and putting a positive spin on a situation. It might not work in every single scenario, but it’s worth a shot. There is no special handbook that explains how to be a great mom, but if you do your best and go with what works then you end up writing your own handbook.