My family has an heirloom that has been passed down for generations. It was brought over from Europe, probably. It is the ancient and well practiced art of yelling at your children. As much as I hate breaking with tradition, (anyone else have Tevya in their heads now?) I'd like to leave this one behind and not pass it down to my own kids. I was terrible while pregnant (can I just blame it on hormones and puking?) and now that I feel more like myself I am determined to really eliminate this from my life. oooh! I know, it's like verbal clutter. I'm just decluttering again!
Last night I went a parenting workshop at my church. It was called Love and Logic Parenting. I'd never heard of it, but I figure I can use all the parenting help I can get! Most of it was things I'd learned before. Kids need chores, need to feel important, don't try to fix everything, blah blah blah. The presenter talked mostly about how being angry puts your children into fight or flight; and when they (or you) are in that place no actual learning can take place. I remember learning a lot of that from Brain Gym and the parenting class I took in college. Brain stem=bad, cerebral cortex=good.
My primary reason for going was, of course, for my little Gozarian. All though I did like that she mentioned how yelling at one child hurts everyone in the family. I remember that from my own childhood and have seen it in my kids. It's so heartbreaking (once you're finally calm again). I haven't been yelling at her much since I stopped being pregnant, but she is still my, um, learning experience (see how nice I can be when I try?) So with that in mind, there was one thing that really stuck with me from this class: the Basic German Shepherd. Think of a dog that has been through doggy training. It's probably more obedient than a standard 2 or 3 year old, right? So basically, you train your toddler the way you would a german shepherd: sit, stay, come, stop, go, & no. You teach them those commands.
I think this is genius!
If I can get her to obey those (and only use them when necessary or they lose their power) it will remove so much stress!!! Time to stock up on doggy treats-I mean fruit snacks! (okay, why isn't there a strike through feature on blogger?)
I also liked the idea that you are your children's science experiment. They want whatever it is they want and will do whatever it takes to get it. When they are driving us nuts and pushing buttons, it really is to see what the reaction will be and if they can use it to their advantage. Now I just need to have that cross stitched and framed on the wall so I remember it when my brain stem goes into over drive.
If you can get to one of these workshops it'd probably be worth your time. I checked out the website and there seemed to be a lot of material to buy, which I'm not a fan of, but it is still good material. But I think I can sum it up by saying the best way to deal with people (kids, customers, spouses etc.) is to be respectful, recognize when they (or you) are in fight or flight, and use the tools to get back to the frontal cortex. The tools are empathy, asking questions (not in a critical way like "what were you thinking?!" more like "how did that make you feel?"), and acts of kindness. Some great examples of this in action can be found in the New Testament. :) Applying them in our own lives seems to always be the tricky part....
Have you ever attended a parenting class? Was it useful? What was the best thing you learned?