Last night I attended my third parenting seminar class. While the information I am learning is overwhelmingly positive, I become less and less a fan of the teacher as the classes wear on. I found her to be down-right condescending at times, which was quite off-putting. Last night she made a snide remark to Iris's teacher and I kind of wanted to punch her in the face over it. She also told a parent, I kid you not, that the parent's 3 1/2 yo child needed to get an allowance to buy his own Thomas the Train socks.
The other thing that really bothered me was the instructor's response to a suggestion I gave that works for me. We were talking about disarming kids who were in the middle of having issues and I said that one thing I do is I sometimes start to fake cry and say "I'm hurting!" if Eloise says something hurtful to me or physically hurts me. 100% of the time she immediately smiles and comes over and hugs me to see if I'm okay and we carry on. SO-- when I said this to the class, the teacher basically responded as if the idea was ridiculous and said "you don't need to act like that, you can just say 'that hurt me'". I was like, oh, okay. Then as I sat with it I remembered in our very first class we spent a long time talking about how we shouldn't be doing things for our kids that they can do for themselves. When a child started screaming about wanting you to put her underwear on, for example, you can act like you have no idea where the underwear goes. On your head? On her head? On her arm? And act like you're totally incompetent so that the child realizes she needs to do it herself. So I'm sitting here thinking, you advocate going on and on with this long scenario of feigned incompetence with your child but I can't fake cry to quickly and effectively get my point across to my kid that I'm hurt? Hmmmm. Anyways. It has obviously bothered me. I feel like she has a really rigid set of criteria as to what is the best way to parent--and I do think, for the most part, that the ideas are right on, but sometimes am really left scratching my head.
But I digress. I have focused for most of the past 24 hours on a handful of annoyances, the class is incredibly helpful. The group is about 30 parents, mostly women, and holy cow are we a funny group. I swear someone is cracking a joke that gets the whole room laughing at least once every few minutes. But in a good way-- in an appropriate way. It feels so relaxed and like we all are truly in it together.
In last night's class we did a bunch more role-playing and it was fun because I definitely learn the most from either being a role-play or watching other parents in one. We didn't discuss a whole lot of new information and we didn't get any hand-outs, just built off of the last couple of weeks.
A few ideas really jumped out at me, some suggestions that I want to try, are:
First, to spend an afternoon taking pictures of the girls doing all of their steps to their night time routine, get them printed and then put them up on a poster, labelling the steps. Our instructor talked about letting the routine be the boss and I feel like, with my kids, the more I can follow a routine the better off we all are. The problem is, I am sooo not a routine person. I do very little in a routine of my own volition, but it does help my girls. So, we'll make a poster that we can always refer back to (and refer back to again and again and again!).
The second thing was one little nuance of language-- when you need your child to do something, like get on her shoes, one of the tools that mostly works in our family is to give her a choice: "do you want to wear your boots or your crocs?" but I can add on "it's your choice" to the end to really let her know SHE is in control of make the choice she wants. These kinds of choices give children a level of control within the confines of what needs to happen. We need to get out the door to go to school, but it can make that happen with input from my child on how it's going to work out.
And lastly, to remember the idea of "connecting then correcting" my children. Children are acting out because they are looking for connection, so the best thing I can do as a parent is provide them with the connection they are striving for before attempting to correct the behavior.