It’s happening. Again! I’ve asked nicely. I’ve counted to 3 really slowly. I’ve used my kind voice, my stern voice. Now somehow I have reduced myself to almost begging my child to comply. “I just need you to put your shoes on sweetie. Come on, can you do this for mommy please?”
Now what? Now people are looking at me and my child is standing 3 feet from me, arms crossed defiantly across their body with a scowl on her face. We have reached an impasse. I can’t believe my 3 year old is winning! Now do I go with the wrestle and forceful approach through gritted teeth. “You will put your shoes on!” or shall I give in. Is it that important? I could let this one go and try again next time?
Can you relate? I know I can. How did we get here? They are so small yet so strong willed. When we enter these power struggles we escalate anger and diminish the ability to access our higher reasoning and problem solving abilities for both ourselves and our kids. We end up in the part of our brain that only offers a “survival mode” of response and is confrontational and self-protective.
At TPK we have spent time learning the principles and practices of Conscious Discipline from the research and practices of Dr. Becky Bailey because we have found over and over again this really works. Amazingly works! It’s the most effective tool I have come across. It starts with us. We cannot help our kids reach calm and effective problem solving if we are not calm ourselves.
The following comes directly from the Conscious Discipline website and gives an example of getting out of an impasse and moving toward compliance.
So now let’s try our initial scenario with the shoes with these same principles.
Acknowledging and labeling a child’s emotions and letting them know that you understand how they are feeling is so important in gaining calm and looking to move towards compliance. Young children are unable to label their own emotions and it is important to teach and encourage this emotional development.
Giving children two options of a positive response gives them some control within the set limits of your instruction. This is huge in developing positive and reasoned responses.
Relationship is at the heart of discipline. We are wired for relationship and respond best when we feel safe. Develop deep connection through focused play on a regular basis.
Adults practice interactions and rehearse lines, at times, verbally in our minds if we are aware of a threatening or uncomfortable exchange ahead. Children learn through visual input and repetition. Consider creating a visual chart of expectation and routine for some of the “problem” times of your day. Mealtimes, bedtime routine, morning routine etc…Our brains are pattern seeking so keeping daily routines as predictable as possible helps to eliminate chaos. This gives them information and tools to work with.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”- Jeremiah 29:11
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