Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control...Week 2

This week was a lot harder. It’s one thing to be the best parent you can be on a daily basis. Compound it by weeks and it’s another story! I have found that I am dysregulated a lot more than I thought. Who and what causes this dysregulation? Me and my ego!

I manage to work myself into a state of frenzy WAY too much. One of the girls says some snide remark…instead of ignoring it, I take it on as a new battle. Can you imagine that I have fought (and lost) multiple battles by 9am every day for years? No wonder I’m tired and my kids are stressed out!

With this new-found self-knowledge, I have been really trying to stop and re-frame my thoughts:
What is driving their behavior?
Do I respond or do I ignore it?
Is this worth the battle?
What is she really needing and wanting right now?
Am I regulated?
Can I give her what she needs?

The last one is tricky. If I cannot regulate myself, I cannot give her what she needs. So how do I regulate myself? I haven’t figure this one out yet.

During the class this past week there was a very powerful roll play about breakfast. There were two scenarios given, one where the mom used the “tried and true” methods of parenting and the second scenario which used the Beyond Consequences Model.

I was nearly moved to tears!

Here is how I incorporated it into my own parenting and into my family:

Meka was practicing her recorder and wasn’t sounding quite as good as she would have liked. She was getting very frustrated and started talking about how much she hated it and how stupid it is and how she’s not going to play it anymore.

I started out with her using the “tried and true” model. I told her she wasn’t practicing very much and in order to be good at something you had to practice. I also told her that she couldn’t give up on things when they got hard. “What would happen if I gave up being a mom every time it got hard?”

This went on for a minute or so when I noticed that she was completely checking out. She started to walk away and all of a sudden the light bulb went on!

“Wait honey, I see that you’re really frustrated about your recorder. Can we talk about it a bit? I’m hearing that you’re very frustrated and wish that you didn’t have to play the recorder. Is that how you’re feeling?”

Well, the floodgates opened and she DUMPED all over the place. Come to find out, she IS feeling very self-conscious because she’s not as good as the other children in her class. She feels that her teacher’s expectations are much higher than they should be, after all, the other kids played recorder last year and this is her first year playing.

I was able to LISTEN to Meka. I didn’t tell her what to do. I didn’t get angry or defensive when she talked about not wanting to play or practice. I just listened and really tried to get how she was feeling.

You know what? It worked. No fighting. No alienation. Just she and I communicating in a loving, respectful manner.

And, better yet, she DID practice her recorder last night and ended up getting a “belt” in music class today…something she’s been working at for weeks.

Thank you, Heather Forbes!

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