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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Learning to parent with loving guidance

Leading her first meeting as a LLL leader, Timbra led this month's enrichment meeting. This was part two of How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen so Kids Will Talk. We discussed alternatives to "no," labels, autonomy and ways to deal with & prevent temper tantrums. Here are a few excerpts from the outline Timbra put together and passed out.

Helping Children Deal with Their Feelings
The following are some quotes I believe will give an idea of the approach of this book
“When kids FEEL right, they behave right. How do we help them feel right? By accepting their feelings!”
“A steady denial of feelings can confuse and enrage children, teaching them not to know or trust their own feelings” (A great reference for why this emotional skill is SO important is Gavin DeBecker’s Protecting the Gift)
“Parents and children become increasingly hostile towards one another when feelings are denied”
Must I ALWAYS empathize? NO! don’t over dramatize a casual exchange, it’s negative emotions that require these skills
“Children don’t need to have their feelings agreed with, they need them acknowledged”
Is this approach too permissive? (acknowledgement of feelings) No, we’re only giving permission to have the feeling or emotion

Alternatives to Engage Cooperation
(usual response v. alternative)
Scenario: Child leaves a wet towel on the bed (for the umpteenth time)
(What you usually say/do) “You always do this, and I have to sleep on wet sheets “
1. Describe what you see or the problem
Your WET towel is on my DRY sheets

2. Give info
When a wet towel is left on the bed, mommy has to sleep on damp sheets

3. Say it with A word
Alani, towel

4. Talk about YOUR feelings
I don’t like sleeping on wet sheets or cleaning up after you

5. Write a note
This can be very creative, poetic, from the perspective of the towel, but keep it simple
One boy said he liked notes best because “they don’t get any louder”

It’s important to be authentic (noticing a trend?)
Just because you don’t “get through” the first time, doesn’t mean you should revert to old ways

These are suggestions of PREVENTION, it’s better to head off the problem if you can foresee it will occur

“Prevention is better than the cure” it’s said
1. Point out ways to be helpful
2. Express STRONG disappointment (without character attacks)
3. State expectations (example: you know your child goes crazy every time you go to the grocery store)
4. Show child how to make amends
5. Give a choice
6. Take action
7. Allow child to experience natural consequence
8. 101 scenarios and responses

Alternatives to “NO!”

1. Give information
Can I go to Suzies?
No v. We’re having dinner in five minutes

2. Accept feelings
I don’t want to leave the zoo, can we stay longer?
No, we’re leaving RIGHT NOW v. It’s hard to leave a place when you’ve had such a great time, I can see that you’d really like to stay longer (as you gently lead the child out of the zoo)
~resistance may be lessened if you show understanding (this even works with toddlers. . I know, I’ve tried)

3. Describe the problem
Can you take me to the library now?
No, you have to wait v. I’d like to help, but I’ve got to wait on the cable guy, I can take you after

4. If possible, say YES instead of NO
Can we go to the park?
No, we’re eating lunch v. Yes, we can go right after we finish our lunch

5. Give yourself time to think
Can I sleep over and Sarah’s?
No, you slept there last weekend v. Let me think about it

It’s true “no” seems like a shorter response than the alternative, but considering the usual fallout with “no,” the “long way often ends up being the short way!


Rebeca said...

I'm not able to make it to the meetings. So I just wanted to say, I lOVE the new blog! Thank you, thank you!!

Rebeca said...

I'm not able to make to the meetings. So I just wanted to say, I lOVE the new blog! Thank you! Thank you!