Small Victories

by Heligirl on February 28, 2010

in Daily Ramblings,Parenting Tidbits,Positive Discipline

I may jest, poke fun and otherwise make light of the trials and tribulations of parenthood, but rest assured, I’m always trying to apply the principles I’ve learned in my positive parenting studies in hopes that at least a majority of the time there will be some level of success. This morning was one of those times and when these things happen, they make all the pukey, poopy, tantrum laden, late night frustrations worth while.

Sweetness woke in a good mood and was chattering away with me all morning. She announced she wanted to use the potty so we went in and gave it a try. Nothing, but I figure her asking is a step in the right direction. She picked out an outfit that actually matched and didn’t agonize over the drawer full of identical diapers for more than a couple of seconds as she chose her apparel. Then as we walked out to the dining room she announced her desire for Rice Krispies. No worries. I went to fill her bowl and she suddenly screeched and dropped to the ground. “No Rice Krispies, KIX!” Um, ok. She’s definitely a woman, changing her mind on the fly. Important to practice that now to keep the future men in her life guessing.

I calmly stated what she could say to me without really correcting her, just giving a good example: “Oh, you changed your mind? You want Kix instead?” She suddenly changed her high pitch and repeated “Kix instead.”

In Pam Leo’s Connection Parenting, Pam emphasizes that a misbehaving child is a disconnected child. To turn the behavior around I need to first reconnect by validating what she’s feeling, even helping give her words for the emotions. In this case I got it right. She’d just changed her mind.

I put the bowl of Kix on the table and she got up and strapped in. I put on the bib and suddenly she started screaming and crying again. She didn’t want a cup of milk with breakfast. She wanted juice. While I try to work with her and help her express what she wants, there are certain things we don’t budge on even if she expresses and I validate she wants something other than what is at hand. For instance, we always get strapped in the car seat when in the car, we always brush our teeth, we always wash hands before eating, and we have milk with our three main meals. Positive Discipline is kind but firm. Kids need structure and rules, even though they’ll test them at every chance. In this case, she tested the cereal choice by changing her mind. My only guess she figured she’d try the drink, even though she knew the outcome from trying this several times before.

“Honey, I understand you want juice with breakfast, but you know we have milk with our meals.” That wasn’t what she wanted to hear. She started crying louder. I got down on my knees so I was at her eye level. “I know it’s hard to have to follow the rules, but its important you drink milk every day to grow strong bones. It’s OK to be upset about having to follow the rules. I know it’s hard.” She shifted her tack and just asked for a “lamby hug.” This is her soothing technique where I put this soft little blanket with a lamb head on it on my shoulder and she gives me a quick hug with her head on the blanket. This trick works miracles. After a quick lamby hug all was fine and well and she dug into her Kix. In the end I was successful at validating what she was feelings, helping name them, and letting her know they were normal. She felt like I understood her and the issue and as such, all was well. We reconnected. Yay!

Granted I’m exhausted many times at the end of these exchanges and often feel like I’m walking on eggshells in my desire to help her express her needs and have a hand in her environment while still maintaining some ambiance of authority. But little victories like this sure make it worthwhile. If nothing else, I’ll at least be keeping her adult therapy bill to a minimum.

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