Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Choices, choices

I highly recommend that you read a book or take a class on discipline if you haven't yet.

Just sayin' that you might need it sometime soon. REAL SOON.

I previously mentioned the Love and Logic classes I took here, here and here. Girly was just about 15 months at the time, so we really weren't having any significant discipline issues, but I wanted to have some tools to fall back on. And, yes, the tools are unwrapped and in use.

I need to sit down and review the fine details, but it is really nice to have an idea about how to respond in the moment without feeling (more) flustered. We are still pretty successful with re-directing and changing the subject, but there are an increasing number of behaviors that need to be firmly addressed.

Say, for example, on our walk the other day. Girly likes to navigate - "this way! that way!" - and I turned a corner without her consent and - WHOA - watch out. She roared her terrible roar and gnashed her terrible teeth (Where The Wild Thing Are, anyone?) for the entire next block. She has this determined version of NO!!, in which she shouts/shrieks NO!, turns red and stiffens her body. It actually takes most of my restraint not to bust out laughing at her. The straps of her stroller could barely contain her and the poor lady sweeping her driveway sweetly said, "what's the matter?"

Never you mind, lady, just out for a stroll with a wild coyote. That's all.

So ... since we were nowhere close to home and I was tiring of the screaming, oh the incessant screaming, I turned to CHOICES. Magic, I tell you!

I have been trying to institute a lot of choices in our house - black plum or red plum? purple cup or yellow cup? left shoe or right shoe? Anything and everything, but they generally haven't been in the midst of a meltdown. We got to the end of the block and I let Girly choose - which way? Straight or left? She picked, she calmed down, and I patted myself on the back. I let her choose again at our next junction and she was perfectly calm. You obviously can't do this forever, or you would end up in China, but the beauty is this: when we reached the corner where we had to turn left to head toward home I just warned her and said, "Mommy's going to choose this time. Let's go left!" I was enthusiastic, she went with it, and then I almost fell over in shock because there wasn't any screaming!

It won't always work, of course, but I was sure glad I had invested some time a few months earlier. Saved my bacon (and my sanity)!

1 comment:

Marie Hooker said...

Choices are a parent's/teacher's saving grace.