Sunday, January 27, 2013

What's Working {and What is NOT}

I'm not in the bloggin mood.... but there are things that must be recorded.

We've been trying new strategies... Some of them are working and others are absolutely backfiring. Here's a run down on three of them.

1. Always say yes.

Saying no puts the kids in a combative mode. EVERY TIME.

So, say yes instead.

"Yes, you may play outside  ~  as soon as you clean up your toys."

"Yes! of course, as soon as you drink your water."

"Yes, you can have that treat. Tomorrow when you show me how quick you can get ready for the bus I'll put it in your lunch."

"Yes, as soon as you turn 18..."

"Yes, when when I'm dead and buried."   ; -)

And, believe it or not, it works. So far, they have no comeback and have accepted the answer far better than a flat out no.

2. Give  Choices

The idea behind this one is to give them as much control as they can handle. Often they are seeking for control in unhealthy ways. POWER STRUGGLES are to be avoided at all cost.  They love a good power struggle and can get one going in a split second before you even know what happened and it destroys the peace!

So, instead of saying, "It's time to drink your water," I ask  "What color cup would you like to have your water in?"

Instead of saying, "Please hurry to breakfast", I ask "Do you want jam and peanut butter, or vegenaise and pickles on your toast?"

"Do you want to do this job first, or that job?"

"Would you like to wear this dress, or that dress?"

 "Are you going to read first, or do your math homework first?"

CHOICES, CHOICES.... all day long about everything and anything until you are sick of looking for choices to ask them, but then you give them another choice. This WORKS for Missy very well. At least, it's working right now, but I can't tell you if her good mood will last and if it has any correlation to the control she feels she has in her life right now. Nothing has actually changed, mind you. She always had a choice of what she was going to wear, which color cup she could choose, which job she was going to do first, or what she had on her toast. It's all in the presentation!!

This works somewhat for James - but we are having trouble with aspects of this as it relates to our next new strategy, as you will see.

3.  Use Supportive Language

The child doesn't want to do his chores. Not a word has been spoken yet.  It's obvious by the stance. To mention chores would be to throw gasoline on the spark and he wears the look that says, "I dare you and you will be sorry!"

The strategy is to disarm him with supportive language. "Hi son, how's it going. What's your plan for the day? Are you planning to ride the bus this morning, or do you need more time and want me to walk with you later?"

In theory he's suppose to answer, "I want to ride the bus".

And then, the supportive parent is suppose to say, "GREAT!! Good choice. What can I do to help you get ready?"

Sounds good, right?!?

Except in actuality it goes like this: "Good morning, son, nice to see you up. What's your plan for the day?"


"Are you planning to ride the bus today or would you like to walk with me a bit later?"


"Hey, kiddo, is there a problem? How can I help you this morning?"


"Uh-oh. I think the cat got his tongue. Quick, let's check, has anybody seen his tongue?"

And we're in a full blown stand-off and NOTHING I say is going to rectify the situation. I end up walking away and letting him miss his ride as he invents ways to turn this into a power struggle.

I think he believes I'm manipulating him to motivate him to get where I want him to go. WHICH, is exactly what I think I'm doing, too.

It's not working. BUT this is the Behavioral Therapist #1 and most loved theory. Never mind that it totally backfires in my face every time with this boy.

What I have recently noticed, is this particular morning struggle is directly tied to his bowel health. You can write me off as CRAZY if you like.... but if the kid can use the toilet easily and do his job, he's great and happy. If he can't he doesn't want to even try and would rather be in a STAND-OFF in the hall and risk having to walk than make any attempt.

Yesterday, the boy and I walked to church. Migraine and all.

So, for what it's worth... Two that work. I got both of them from the foster care class. And one that doesn't work, that I got from the therapist. To be fair, he validated the first two.


Sophie said...

I am glad the first two are working and I find that type parenting works for us too. BUT it is exhausting and it is not my style. I was raised old school where you tell your kid what to do and they respectfully do it. It so hard for me to switch gears every time I speak to Jackson. Oh how I wish he would just let all this crazy control crap go and be an enjoyable kid. UGH

angela ford said...

mom of 4 boys said:

Sounds like someone in your class is reading the book called, "love and logic" We used all those strategies with Ian for a while. They work well with kids who haven't been been hurt. It works for a while even with those who have but it gets very tiring after a while. Your own brain begins to hurt from thinking up choices and proper positive sentence structures and well, yeah! Use it while it lasts and enjoy whatever reprieve it affords.