Friday, June 1, 2012

Love and Logic - For When You Need Extra Help

Listening to: Angel  - Aerosmith
Mood: Optimistic

As I was mentioning earlier, the G family has had some rough times as of late in the form of some rather large and tricky behavior issues. I decided to get in touch with a very good friend of mine who has always guided me straight and given me some good advice. We don’t talk to each other much anymore. There’s an age difference, a distance issue, lives being busy, and a pretty huge religion issue hanging between us, but I still consider him a good friend and someone who I trust enough to ask advice. He was my youth pastor when I was in high school during some of the darkest times for me.  He even married Daddy G and I without the condescending disappointment that I got from so many other friends and family in the church at the time. He and his wife seem to have a very solid relationship and have raised two happy, healthy kids. I respect them both a whole lot.

The web site he pointed me to was  Just so we’re clear, I’m not a big fan of programs. The site is indeed a business and they do have products to sell. I am not a fan of seminars, and buying lots of books about the same philosophy, but if you are, help yourself.  What the website does have, however, is a clear view into their strategy with dealing with kids. This isn’t a “the only way to find the answers is to buy our books” type deal. The answers are there on the web site.

The reason why I liked this website so much is that it gives practical answers on how to deal with some tough situations and calls parents out on contributing to bad behavior. It also aims to do this without anger, sarcasm, shouting, or spanking. It’s a wonderful reference and wonderful reassurance that if you stick with it, the results will be worth the momentary discomfort of refocusing behavior.  Sometimes even the best of us parents get caught up in negative responses and behaviors that aren’t good examples for our kids. A gentle reminder is awesome.

If you want to check out the free resources online, click the “Parents” tab and scroll down to Free Resources. I read through them all because I was so impressed with their concept. Stressing to kids that their behaviors made you sad instead of angry, disgusted, etc, is a novel concept for people like me who have a very hard time taking excessive emotion and hyperbole out of raising children. Consequences are given, but they are given in a loving way. “Oh, how sad. You must have been frustrated to feel like you need to throw your toys.  That made me very tired. I think if you wipe off the table for me, I may have some more energy to play with you.” “How sad you didn’t want to help me get my energy back by wiping off the table. That’s okay, you can buy back my energy by letting me borrow your favorite toy for a while.” And then not arguing with the child about it.  If you must say something, let it be, “I love you too much to argue.” It’s so simple it’s almost criminal. Of course a child used to getting his or her way (or getting attention from a big, drawn out scene and argument) you can’t expect them to change their tune overnight. However, I’ve found that once children understand that the parent is in control of both themselves and the situation, they tend to fall into line pretty quickly. Of course positive reinforcement never hurts. Make sure you are giving attention for positive behaviors, because attention is what the child is after anyhow.

Just the other day, Daddy G and I were taking a walk by ourselves when we noticed some black marker on the hallway outside our door. With a disheartened sigh, we recognized our daughter’s handwriting. To our dismay, there were some very rude words written in the same black marker inside the elevator.  We decided to confront our daughter about it and see if there was any further evidence.

After she came home from playing, we asked to see the bag of toys she had brought outside.  Sure enough, there was a big, black permanent marker in there. We decided to wait until dinner to have a discussion about what to do with the little offender.

At dinner time, I’m proud to say that there was a calm, logical discussion of what happened. My daughter tried the old deny, deny, deny tactic, but after a while she knew the gig was up. We calmly talked about why it happened and what the rude words meant (turns out, she didn’t even know and one friend is a not so great influence by telling her that word). We also told her that Daddy G and I would be deciding the consequences and letting her know what they would be.

All I have to say is check it out and give it a try folks. Daddy G and I have never felt so calm about disciplining and making the best of a crappy situation. We felt like WE were in control of the situation and that our kids were calm because they didn’t have any emotion from our side, except mild disappointment, to feed on.


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