Monday, February 20, 2012

aaaaaaahhhhhh

ok just in case anyone thought they had wild kids, i would like to inform you that on one of my hazardous 5-minute sleep-ins this week, my husband and i came downstairs to discover that the kids were "baking"... a.k.a. they had taken out just about every mixing bowl i have and some pots and utensils, laid them across the floor, and proceeded to pour a bag of flour, 3 separate containers of sugar, a container of chocolate powder, and probably at least a handful of pretzels into the bowls and ALL OVER MY FLOOR AND HOUSE!!!!!! sooooo Baruch Hashem, my husband and i were both feeling pretty calm and we put the rebellious little ones in captivity on the couch and quietly and calmly proceeded to clean up the disastrous mess (which btw only took about 5 mins to clean)... and then we told them we would think about an appropriate punishment for later because we don't waste food, disrespect our home, etc... but we didn't really get mad or do anything harsh at the time of the incident, and you know what? that was the end of it...  no rage. no power struggle. no harsh feelings... just a little clean-up, a few kind words, and on we go... (btw they never ended up getting any punishment because it didn't seem necessary later on after the moment had passed)...

ha ok and so tonight when they took their yogurts into their room and started doing splash art all over the curtains i realized that they had in fact perhaps not learned their lesson, but now at least we know what to work on...

so i wanted to tell you a little bit more of the principles behind this strategy... i learned this method from my friend and teacher fran (pnina) merzel (btw anyone in jerusalem i emplore u to take her course! ask me for more info!)... and just today i got to hear fran teach again about some of these principles...

so the title of the class today was 'loving our children in the unlovable moments: the power of unconditional love'... anyway i'm not going to go into all of it now, but i will tell you a couple things...

she said that there are two dangerous assumptions people make during a child's misbehaviour that lead to inappropriate & untimely criticism: 1. If I say what the child did wrong, he will correct himself and do it right the next time. 2. if i don't say something, the child will not grow up to be a good person (at least in this area) later in life... but she says that not only are these assumptions wrong, but they are dangerous, because the more harshly we react with a child in a moment of misbehaviour, the less chance we have of fixing it, and in fact we might be doing a lot more damage by sending our child the message that he is unlovable!!

so... this means that in the moment of misbehaviour, we are not getting mad, shouting, or punishing. the first thing we do is look for CREATIVE SOLUTIONS to end the misbehaviour (including distraction, 'replaying the scene' (offering the child the chance to go back and re-do what just went wrong), humour, displays of love, ANYTHING)... because yes we want the misbehaviour to stop, but THE TIME OF MISBEHAVIOUR IS NOT THE TIME TO FIX IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is so counter-intuitive, it takes some major digesting...

rather, when a child misbehaves (like a child who smacked his brother that took his toy truck) we want to and should diffuse the situation (make sure the smacking has stopped), but then instead of on the spot going into why the child should not have done that, whether it's an explanation, a punishment, anger, or something else, what we SHOULD DO is make a mental note that we have to teach this child ways to communicate without using his hands...

and then later on, in a QUIET MOMENT we will be able to teach that skill, whether it's through modelling the behaviour ourself, telling a story about it, talking about that skill with an older child, or any other creative and age appropriate method, we actually have a chance to teach the child the desired behaviour!!!!

ok, this is just a snippet of a much broader philosophy and even only a few of my notes from today's class, but still thought it was worth sharing! hopefully will share more soon...

good luck!!

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