Thursday, November 6, 2008
Love and Logic MAGIC-saving my sanity!!
So, one of our recommended readings for our homestudy is "Love and Logic, Magic for early childhood" by Jim Fay...and let me say, it IS Magic!!
I have read the first few chapters, and been implementing the principles with Hayden for the past 2 days...and truly, they have been the best 2 days we've had in MONTHS with him. (or should I say, I have had with him). 4 years old, has presented a few challenges with our big boy. He suddenly is Mr. Independant, wanting to "do it on my own" (or NOT do it on my own as the case may be...) I have been pulling my hair out, given many timeouts and, I'll be honest, alot of yelling, trying to get him to stinking pick up his toys on his own....
So, the magic book talks about giving kids lots of choices. ie, do you want cereal or oatmeal for breakfast? (giving 2 choices that I'd be happy with either choice) CHOICES CHOICES CHOICES. Blue socks or white? Sweatshirt or fleece? boots or tennies? This story or that one? Literally, give choices on everything. They are control hungry little animals. So, give them some control where it really doesn't matter. THEN when it does matter, for example, It's pouring down rain, and Mommy chooses that he wears long pants instead of shorts. Mommy has given you lots and lots of choices today, and now it's my turn to make a choice....and...he totally went for it! Yahoo!!
Another principle, react to thier mistakes with empathy and compassion instead of anger and frusteration. Anger and frusteration literally shut down thier ability to learn and think and make a good decision. Anger and frusteration turn on the "fight or flight" reaction in thier little brains, and kick in the adrenaline and they just can't think rationally. If you respond with empathy, ie, "uh, oh. Your brother is really hurt from you kicking his face, How can you make this better? What should you do differently next time?" It has been working like a charm, and we are both SO MUCH HAPPIER. I am finding alot of freedom from my own frusteration in discipline with these tools.
I'm learning that my heart needs to be focused on equipping him to be a good decision maker. How can he make good decisions if I have all the control and never LET him make decisions? He is loving having a say in what happens, and those are very "affordable" choices. Then when the really matter, I get the control I need as the parent. As L & L puts it, mistakes at 4 (or 2) are very affordable mistakes. At 14-17, they may not be so "affordable". I need to let him learn now, because by the teenage years, If I suddenly give all control to him with no training and practice at making good choices, it will not magically kick in when he's faced with choices like, "To smoke pot, not to smoke pot" or "skip school or not to skip school"...or worse, but I'll wait a few years to think about those possibilities :) Saying this stuff outloud, it all sounds so common sense-ish. I guess I have a very think (and stubborn) brain. I am loving this book, and it's principles really worked for H and me, almost instantly. He's usually grouchy in the morning, and today he came out with a big ol smile and said, "Good Morning, Mommy!"...later this afternoon, he said, "Mommy, you're AMAZING!"...Now, who doesn't love to hear that! Giving him so many choices throughout the day, has made him so much easier to get along with , and I found myself this afternoon, just wanting to spend time playing with him....we were just plain ol' having fun together. We toasted pumpkin seeds, snuggled and watched a movie, read stories. We just enjoyed eachother's company.
The other MAJOR victory for me has been in getting him to pick up toys on his own, specifically LEGOS. I love that he loves creating things with Legos and he's getting pretty creative. I HATE the million tiny peices all over the carpet and him not wanting to clean them up. I have started saying, "OK buddy, I have a couple choices for you. You can pick up the Legos now, and then you can play again later, OR Mommy can pick them up for you, and I will keep them."...He is just smiling and saying, "OK, I will pick them up so I can play with them later when I want to."
MUSIC TO MY EARS. Thank you Mr. Fay for the Love and Logic MAGIC!!