Looky here: a two-post day!
Halfmama's first post at parenting.com (Congrats on the gig, Halfmama!) reminded me of something that I've wanted to blog about for a while: HALT.
As I have mentioned before, for a couple of years running, I spent a lot of time in Al-Anon meetings. Anyone familiar with twelve-step programs knows that slogans run rife at meetings. There is a slogan for any and everything. As with everything said at an Al-Anon meeting, you take what you like and leave the rest.
My number-one slogan by far is HALT:
These are the top-four triggers for negative behavior. If I'm feeling in a foul mood, short-tempered, annoyed, fed-up, impatient, sad, or otherwise out of sorts, my ickiness can almost always be traced to one (or more) of these four sources. The same is true of my kids. When the are acting squirrely, the first thing I do is run through this list to try to identify what the source of their problem might be.
The good thing about this is that if I can identify the cause, I'm on my way to fixing it. Granted, some things are easier to fix than others. Hungry is the easiest one to remedy. Lonely? Not so much. But just having a label to put on my disquiet is a good step. When I'm short-tempered with the kids and I'm able to step back and figure out why, I try to be good about apologizing and saying, "I'm sorry I snapped; I'm feeling tired [hungry, lonely, angry] right now." They can't understand me right now, but I want to be in the habit of sharing my feelings with them for when they can understand, and I want them to practice naming their feelings, too.