Monday, April 19, 2010

From Revelation to Revolution!

I needed that! HOPE. Trying to prevent my little shit-sparks from morphing into a raging shit-fire-storm... *(See embeded vid to understand my inspiration! Make sure the wee-ones aren't around for the language.)
*Shit Waves

As I've described previously - Myla is beyond strong-willed. Even when I wouldn't "give-in" - she'd go the extra mile to make me as miserable as possible - along with her... It's as though she thought, "Hey, if I'm going to suffer, you are too!" 

I was talking (read: crying) to Joel about it one day - saying that I can't handle the sensation in the back of my neck of my blood-pressure rising  ANY more! He responded, "Maybe we need some classes or something..." Just then, we found the latest catalogs in the mail for our local community-ed offerings. I had little hope as we sifted through the pages. Could there really be a class that would actually apply to this situation???

YES! It's a little miracle titled "Parenting with Love and Logic" - How to Discipline Kids without Losing their Love and Respect" (based on a book written by Jim Fay - which was also included!) The philosophy is based on allowing kids to make some decisions, and learn from their mistakes (while the price-tag is still small) - and become responsible and self-reliant - all while keeping your own sanity in tact... After reading the description - with my jaw still on the floor over the fact that this actually exists (and affordably), I didn't hesitate to log-on to the website and sign us up!! 

I left the class feeling elated. I couldn't believe how simply adjusting your thinking and wording so slightly might truly revolutionize your parenting ability and connection with your kids! Some examples:
 ~Choose "thinking words": Avoid "fighting words" [ie: "Please sit down, we are going to eat." VS "We will eat as soon as you are seated." OR, "Clean your room so we can go shopping." VS "I'll be happy to take you shopping as soon as your room is clean."
 ~Using "Enforceable Statements" [ie: "I keep the toys that I pick up" OR "I give allowance to those who finish their chores"] They then make a choice about following-through - and once you enforce the natural consequences of the less ideal option, they learn responsibility. And, they are their own "bad-guy" if they make the wrong choice.
  ~Sharing control through (limited) choices [ie: "Are you going to brush your teeth , or put on your PJ's first?" OR "Do you want peas or carrots with dinner?" Or the one I've been using on Addie for a while now already, "Do you want to hold my hand on the stairs, or have me carry you?"] AWE-SOME!
 ~Going 'brain-dead' when kids start to argue about the limits we've set. [ie: answering "I know" to every argument... That's not fair... "I know". I hate you.... "I know". They soon realize there's no point in arguing, because it's not going to get them anywhere, and you avoid allowing them to push your buttons (JUST what I need! Myla would argue about the color of the sky-)
 ~Locking it all in with genuine empathy... [ie: "This is so sad" OR "I bet it feels that way"] Shielding them from all negativity enables them, and also sets them up for failure when the choices become more significant later in life... This process allows you to work with them to provide tools to becoming successful adolescents and adults!! Joy.

The above is merely a very brief overview or introduction to this process. It's great that we were able to pick up so much from a class, and the notes provided to us by the teachers, until we have time to read through the book and reinforce what we've learned. All-in-all - it's the best $45 we've invested! It's been working really well (even with Myla, to my amazement!) She still tests the limits, but is quickly seeing a new movement taking place. Part of it is our need to really re-think our approach when we want to "command" them (I was the "drill-sergeant-parent") - turning it into an enforceable statement instead... It's the trick of knowing what to say in the heat of the moment, - to avoid the heat! So, it will only continue to become easier with time. In any case, I can't believe how simple it can be, and how well this works. Kids need to feel like you find them capable, and they need to have opportunities to learn to trust themselves as well. It's a win-win! 

TIP: Addie used to throw fits after I'd give her the breakfast option she'd ask for... screaming "no, no, no!" I couldn't figure it out... until finally - I realized. She wanted a choice. (She'd already been given a choice of foods, but Myla was also choosing which spoon she wanted, and what color bowl or plate...) So I held up two different color bowls. She picked one, I placed the oatmeal inside, and wallah - she was happy again! Giving them little options like that keeps everyone happy. Kind of along the principles of this Love & Logic approach.... I dig!
A QUOTE: "That discipline which corrects the eagerness of worldly passions, which fortifies the heart with virtuous principles, which enlightens the mind with useful knowledge, and furnishes to it matter of enjoyment from within itself, is of more consequence to real felicity than all the provisions which we can make of the goods of fortune." ~ROBERT BRIDGES
WHIDFML: After 6 years in our home, Joel and I painted the kitchen cabinets & ceiling, and replaced the God-awful puke-inducing light-fixture that I wouldn't even bring myself to switch on! LOVE it!

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