Although I'm not getting everything right all the time I've definitely felt an increasing shift in my handling of situations at home and an increase in flow in the house. It's amazing how having the awareness just allows for a gap, a pause before one reacts in a negative way and there have been many times when I've used acknowledgement, description, single words, expression of my feeling and it's really eased the situation. Above all it's helped me feel like I have resources and that's really empowering!
This week I was focusing on summatvie praise. After your suggestion of conveying the things we value about our children I had an opportunity to combine all of these.
One night the girls didn't want to bath and it was getting late. I knew the longer I left it the more tired they'd be and the harder to get them into the bath. At this point I gave into the old reward system. I put two small piles of jelly tots on either side of the far side of the bath (so they'd have to get in to get them). Then I asked them if they'd like to go on a treasure hunt in the bathroom.
The fantasy part of this immediately had them excited and they rushed off to see what was there and got in the bath without a problem. Now I still had to get them out because it was really late and they had school the next day. I was thinking of how important it was to tell them all the things I value about them and decided I'd write them both a letter.
I told them if they washed and got out quickly they could come and get some more treasure from me. They proceeded to try guess what it was, more sweets, a book, a toy etc. I said no to all but insisted it was still treasure. While they were washing I wrote them each a letter that went something like this.
'Dear Janet, Hi! This is Mommy. I Love you! You are such a wonderful, energetic, intelligent, happy, beautiful, funny, kind, compassionate, healthy, strong, graceful, creative and very special person. Love you so much always. Mom. PS. You have changed my life for the better and I've been so happy to have you in it. I've learnt so much from you, like how to laugh, be kind, have fun and not worry about the small things. Thank-you.
Mary’s one differed only with various qualities unique to her. When I gave them these they were excited to get a letter (in an envelope and marked special delivery) but disappointed it wasn't some the kind of 'treasure' they imagined.
I said "Ah, but this IS treasure, the best kind, because you will have this all your life to remember when things aren't so go good'. Then I read them each their letter. Janet wanted to know why they were similar but not exactly the same and I said because you are both unique, different but there are many wonderful things you share.
She was happy with that and then wanted to go and stick it above her wall which is where she's put all the certificates she's earned at school. Mary did the same and we went to bed feeling happy. Maybe it was all a bit much all in one go but I hope we'll be able to revisit that letter when things aren't feeling so good, as a reminder of all the things I love about them.
Thanks again for all the tools! You cannot imagine what a difference it makes to our lives.