The new year is a time when resolutions are made. "I'm going to eat better!" "I'm going to lose weight!" "I'm going to exercise!" Such lofty goals, but come February most people have already given up. I think it has something to do with a lack of a plan.
I didn't make a lot of resolutions this year, but something has been bothering me. There has been a lot of negativity in my home lately. Mainly from my five year old son, Dylan, but my husband and I aren't completely innocent. Dylan has become extremely competitive this year, and hates losing. To say that he doesn't handle losing well would be an understatement. I don't like the crying that comes after he loses, but it is the negativity during the game that was making me crazy.
"I never win this game! I'm no good at this! I can't do it!" - it was making playing any kind of game a miserable experience. A few days ago, we sat down to play a game, and I got the first point. "I KNOW I'M GOING TO LOSE!", he screamed. I lost it. I had been talking to him about not being negative until I was blue in the face, but obviously it wasn't working. I needed to get creative.
Meet "Mr. Negative Pig"...
When anyone in the family makes a negative comment, we have to put a penny in the pig. Why a penny? Well, to be honest, I anticipated a LOT of comments being made, and I didn't want more money in the pig than in my wallet! (Hmmm... that was a bit negative, wasn't it?)
When I got the idea, I was going to use a jar, and call it "The Negativity Jar". I found a jar, and my husband said "Really? A glass jar? With Dylan around?" I put the jar back. We didn't have a plastic jar, but we did have a plastic purple pig that my parents' neighbors had given us for Dylan. I already had the round label, and the conversation stickers. On those, I wrote the negative statements that we often make in this house. Dylan's are "I'll never win!", "I can't beat you at anything!", "I can't do it!", and "I lose every time!" Jim's are "I don't have time to do anything!", and "We'll never have any money!" Mine are "Why do we live here?" (I say that every year in the winter), "You never listen to me!" (said when my husband asks me a question about something I just told him about 10 minutes earlier), and "I hate all my clothes!
I have to tell you that so far "Mr. Negative Pig" is working wonders! It has really made us all more careful about what we say. Playing games isn't miserable anymore, and Jim said something the other day that almost made me fall over. After the Steelers lost the playoff game, in an extremely close, nail biter game, he actually said, "Well, at least we'll have our Sundays free now". Whoa!
What bad habits does your family need to work on this year? Hate whining? How about a "Whine" Jar? When it's full, you can buy yourself a bottle of wine, (if you can wait that long!) Or, if you want to encourage your kids to be kinder to each other, how about a "Compliment Box". Every night at the dinner table you could each write something nice about the members of your family and put it in the box. Then, have each person read one. Be creative. This idea doesn't take a lot of time, or money, but it could make a big difference in your home. If you do it, let me know how it goes!