Friday, February 12, 2010

Don't Engage

I am participating in a Love and Logic class through my Parents as Teachers group. I had heard a lot of good things about this 'theory' from teacher friends and thought it was time to put a bit more thought into our discipline strategy.

True, our Girl is a little young at 14 months to benefit from all of this, but better to start early. I think.

My take away from last night:

1. 'Go Brain Dead', i.e. 'Don't Engage'
When your child is nagging or throwing a fit, you need to go brain dead so you don't go crazy. Respond in a calm, soothing, repetitive voice. "I know .... I know .... I know .... I know". The idea is that pretty soon they'll just tire of you not giving in to their wishes, and in the future, will know they can't get a rise out of you.

2. 'Empathy, then Consequence'
A lot of Love+Logic is based on empathetic, loving responses to your children, along with making your child take responsibility for misbehavior. When your child misbehaves, you must respond with empathy and true sincerity. "Oh! How sad ...." or "What a bummer!" Your child needs to know that you care about them and recognize that they are upset. Then, the consequence. "Oh! How sad! You dropped your cup on the floor so now you can't have anymore milk." You are the good guy and the consequence is the bad guy.

I like the sound of it.

My homework is to start putting these things in to practice. We don't really have tantrums at our house, but the whining is increasing. The most maddening thing to me, right now, is the repeated flinging of the sippy cup with secondary spilling of milk. I've responded in a calm way, in an angry way, in no way ... none of it seems to work.

Today we started the "Oh! How sad!" approach. I'm sure she doesn't get it yet, but hopefully will begin to understand with repetition on our part. And, it makes me feel better to have an approach.

As our instructor said, you can't always control your 2 or 3 year old. You CAN control your response to them.

Good advice.


Andrea said...

I like the approach. Our babysitter has been coaching us on pretty much the same idea. Nathan throws a fit if he misses a basketball shot and we used to respond, "try again." Now that we have added, "what a bummer" or "that's frustrating" it seems to cut some time and gusto out of the tantrum. Best of luck. Let me know how it works.

Bets said...

You should hear the kindergarten teachers at my building, "That is such a sad story. I'm so sad that you chose to run down the hall ... now you will walk holding my hand."

I've started with the "What a sad story ..." bit. Only mine tends to end with, "... you tore all your papers up. It's a good thing I have a copy machine to make you brand new copies." OR "... you chose to steal markers from the art room. You will no longer get to use those materials."