Tuesday, June 06, 2006
I didn't write about last week's L and L session because it was mostly reviewing situations with the instructor. This week was more of the same.
But I realized; I'm not offering my kids a choice when I say, "Either do this, or you can take a break." That's me saying: you do what I want, or you do what I want. There's no real empowerment happening for the kid.
For example, last night Chaya kept making these elaborate sneezing noises into her napkin at dinner. She was riling up Srulik, who stopped eating was goofing off. We asked Chaya nicely to stop, and told her she had a choice: She could stay at the table, or go into her room. We even added how much we wanted her at the table with us. I mean, this is fair. It just could have been done better. She finally went into her room, but it turned into a little bit of a showdown.
We discussed it with the L and L instructor, and he suggested the following: "Chaya, we see you're having such a great time sneezing! If you want to sneeze like that, you can do it in your room." So it's not like a threat; "stop or go to your room." It gives the kid a little wiggle-room to make her own choice. If she continued, we could say - "Wow. We offered you a choice, but it looks like we need to make the choice now. You can stop with the sneezing, or go to your room." Always emphasizing the choice aspect, reminding her the ball is in her court.
Which reminds me of another L and L thing: The kid ideally comes to the conclusion that the behavior is HIS problem, not the parents' problem. If the parents are being empathic and fair, then whatever the kid is doing is his responsibility. "Oh gee, I'm doing x, but my parents are giving me loving choices. If I don't change my behavior, whose fault is that?" We trust that our kids are smart enough to figure it out.
This morning Chaya was dilly-dallying about getting dressed and going to school. I gave her a few gentle reminders/choices, but basically backed off as much as I could (another L and L thing - don't be afraid to let the kid screw up!). What happened? Her carpool ride came. She missed breakfast. She learned!
I was secretly praying they would get to our house before her breakfast was ready.