Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Talking to my Kids...

"Do you want to wear your coat or carry it?"
"Would you like water or milk?"
"I play with boys who don't cheat."
"Feel free to join us when you're done cleaning your room."

Each day my goals are simple; I want to talk to my children without anger or frustration, I want to provide guidance through enforceable statements and choices, I want to encourage them to make decisions and to be responsible for the decisions they make, I want my boys to feel safe and secure, and I want to have fun being their mom.

In the last three months of sports schedules and back-to-school, I could feel my habits with Love & Logic starting to slide.  I have practiced Love & Logic as a teacher and as a parent for  as long as I have been both.  It's the way I want to talk to my kids and the way I want to discipline.  But lately, I've been tired and run down...and the habits have started to slip.

My favorite Love & Logic strategies are Enforceable Statements and Choices and I use them  in daily conversation with my kids as often as possible.  Enforceable Statements work because I am telling the kids what I am going to do if their behavior continues.  The benefit is subtle corrections of behavior in a way that doesn’t make my kids feel like they are in trouble, just a reminder of the expectation.
“Do you want to wear your coat or carry it?”  My kids typically don’t argue about coats, I want to establish the fact that coats are going with them and they will be responsible for the coats.

"Do you want to do your homework now or in 30 minutes?"  I love giving my kids this choice, because they almost always choose to procrastinate.  In 30 minutes, when it's time to start, it's the time they chose...not the time that I chose :)  They may not be thrilled with starting homework, but they have less to argue with when the time was their choice.

 “I play with boys that don’t cheat.”  In my experience, playing with children also means teaching them how to play.  This enforceable statement is meant to be a reminder of how to play.  Most often the boys catch themselves, and we continue playing with no problem.  On the other hand, there is a clear expectation that I can enforce without engaging in a power struggle with the boys.  I can simply walk away from the game if they continue to cheat. (Or continue whatever it is that I don't want to contend with.)

This conversation helps to prevent power struggles.  It helps kids to know what the expectations are and decreases the chances of a temper tantrum.  This conversation allows us all to have more fun together... and I am resolved to bring this habit back into practice.

My current favorite..."I am not wearing black and white stripes today, so I can't referee this argument.  Would you like to play together respectfully or find something else to do alone?"

1 comment:

  1. I'm a fan of L&L, too, but I'm not good at remembering to use it in the heat of the moment. Need to practice more. I love your referee response!!!


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