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Displaying items by tag: cooperation
%AM, %10 %421 %2012 %11:%Apr

Eating habits that drive me crazy

Yesterday, we were on about Day 7 of both girls being sick. We were all feeling quite irritable and cabin feverish.  As something interesting to do that would get us out of the house and not involve them going out in the cold or coughing and spluttering on anyone else, we decided to go for a drive ‘to see the sea’.

Of course going for drives often means that both girls fall asleep which provides some much needed peace, quiet and space for mom! To make it just little more fun and interesting I decided we could stop at the drive –thru for some chippies for the girls and a coffee for me. 

I have a bit of a thing about hearing people chew. It annoys me immensely, even more so when my levels of irritation are already raised. So I said to the girls, ‘Girls, remember that we chew with our mouths closed’ and a bit later: ‘I don’t want to hear you chewing those chips.’ 

They responded to this with various protests about how they were chewing with their mouths closed and that you couldn’t chew without making a noise etc etc. 

The conversation changed and we carried on with our drive with the older one chatting away and the younger one in a mood telling us both to be quiet!  In the meantime I still had coffee to drink.  As I picked up my coffee my three year old daughter pipes up from the back: ‘Mom, I don’t want to hear you drinking that coffee!!’.  And with that promptly fell asleep.

That little comment instantly snapped me out of my mood and I couldn’t stop laughing. It changed my day. Isn’t it amazing how kids have the ability to hold up a mirror and let us laugh at ourselves!

Published in Cooperation

One of my goals this week was to not to elaborate and give long speeches. That worked really well. Instead of telling them in 10 different ways how and why I do not like them to throw their schoolbags on the ground as soon as they get in the house, I just said ‘guys, schoolbags in the scullery’ and that worked just fine. Day 3 I didn’t even have to say it myself, Linden did it for me ‘Guys, don’t do that, the bags belong in the scullery’.

Other example of using different techniques was when Linden wanted to eat the lollipop he bought last weekend just before dinner. When I said he couldn’t, I gave him a few options of concrete times at which he could. He chose after finishing dinner and desert.

But by the time we had brushed teeth and read a bedtime story we realized we had forgotten all about it. Linden was really upset when I told him he couldn’t eat his lollipop and even started rolling on the ground. I successfully tried different things.

He couldn’t hide his smile and was upset when I ate the fantasy lollipop with strawberry taste that I caught midair. But that was just a short term solution. He did like to get some options presented again, either straight after school or after breakfast (just for once because we had forgotten after dinner). He settled on breakfast and just to be sure I wrote a note with a drawing of the lollipop and put that next to his breakfast plate. He really liked seeing that first thing in the morning.

Published in Cooperation
%AM, %10 %416 %2012 %11:%Apr

Tackle a big mess with small parts

I said to Emily “this room is a mess” “toys and things everywhere”. She looked around her and agreed readily. I gently asked her what she thinks can be done about it.

She suggested tidying up the toys and crafts cupboard first. I asked her, as we were going to school and work when she thought she would get it done by. She said by the next afternoon. This was done beautifully without a reminder.

I was very proud of her and congratulated her on the fine effort. I did not get the whole room tidied but, also learnt that perhaps it is better to tackle a BIG mess in small parts.

Published in Cooperation
%AM, %10 %415 %2011 %10:%Apr

This is where you can put your bucket

My young 2 year old son Jacob likes to play with water and to move the water around. He fills his bucket and then empties it somewhere else. This time he was heading for the lounge, so I quickly stopped him and showed him and used the skill of showing him where he could empty his bucket instead and with just as much fun. And it worked!

Published in Cooperation

It was after bath time, Sussie was TIRED (really grouchy, prone to tearfulness and general meltdown). We both walked into her room to start the cream and pyjama routine and I saw all her toys on the floor from earlier.

I had purposefully left them there for her to clean up when we came home. It would have been so easy for me to pick them up quickly after she was in bed. Instead I asked her, "Please Sussie put your toys away quickly.'

No response from Sussie, she was ignoring me. I was about to ask again, when, despite my own tiredness and eagerness to get her to bed, I remembered my new skill. "We're tired Sussie, Sussie, this is your toys talking. Can we go to bed too?" She turned around IMMEDIATELY and began packing them in their box.

I continued, "We love to cuddle with each other, warm and safe in the cupboard at night, thanks Sussie." I swear that within a minute they were all in the box, ready for bed. The rest of our routine went like a dream.

Published in Cooperation
%AM, %10 %358 %2012 %09:%Apr

How these skills have changed me

This week has been particularly encouraging for me. It's almost as if a shift has taken place in my cognitive process. I have managed consistently the whole week to apply some of the skills I have learnt regarding engaging co-operation with my children.

The most significant change has been that I have shifted my language. By exploring alternatives, be it, through using description, fantasy or shifting accusation from them by using more general words like  'we' instead of  'you' has been quite a break-through for me.

It has helped me to remain much calmer in most situations and brought about a greater flow of communication in our home. For example, the one day when I got home with Maria, both Maria and Samuel proceeded to have one melt-down after the other and were constantly at each other's throats.

The entire afternoon and evening were extremely taxing for me. But by consistently diffusing each situation through engaging with different language and engaging tactics, by the time Noah (my husband) got home (round 7:30), he walked into a home that appeared to have had a normal, wonderful afternoon and evening.

The atmosphere, which usually would have been on a razor's edge given the emotions that had erupted throughout the period, was quite relaxed and settled! It was quite incredible to realise how much can be managed simply through these skills.
Thank you.

Published in Cooperation
%AM, %10 %355 %2012 %09:%Jan

Being a single parent has its challenges

Reflecting back I’m realizing that being a divorced parent and only having Johanna 2 days a week, I have probably been overcompensating and even succumbing on a level to Johanna’s needs, wants and desires purely for happiness.

I want her time with Dad to be filled with love, fun and a happy environment. I find myself at times backing down in particular situations to gain this. I realize this works short term, but can be damaging in the long term.

An example of this…. Johanna was eating a naartjie in the lounge, she peeled it and tossed the peels on to the coffee table, some hitting and landing others fell on the floor. She then also spat the pips, trying to hit the table, most landing around the table onto the floor.

We were getting ready to leave for mom’s house and I walked past and asked her to pick them up, she replied she needed help. I told her it was her mess clean up. I continued to get ready. After a while I walked past and said “Naartjie peels!”

She ignored me. Now time to go so I just cleaned it up to keep the peace. And I wonder why she doesn’t want to clean her room? …hmmmm I find that the 2 days I have Johanna fly by, and find myself a little behind the rest of the group in the workshop, this doesn’t concern me, and am happy to slow it down and work at my own pace.

Published in Cooperation

I've found it very helpful this week to think of ways to achieve the desired outcome with constructive dialogue as outlined in the notes, rather than targeting the child with comments like "you never do this or that" or "why don't you listen when I ask you to do something".

I've found in a couple of situations especially with my 6 year old son that by describing the problem or giving him choices, he seems to respond better than when I blow a fuse at him not obeying my instructions without me having to ask over and over.

Published in Cooperation

Fenn has been really unhappy this week and I tired the skills of listening and fantasy. I am so surprised about how well this works.

Fenn was crying because of staying at home around the swimming pool instead of going to the beach and sea. I first conveyed to him my understanding that he thought that the sea was nicer than being in the swimming pool water (in other words making him feel understood

Published in Emotions
%PM, %08 %758 %2012 %19:%Apr

Which foot is the fastest?

Charmaine and I were on our way to fetch Yvette from school.  We arrived and were about to get out of the car when I noticed that she had taken her shoes and socks off en route.  I started with: “Come on Charmaine, let’s put your shoes on before we get out of the car and was met with the usual: “No, don’t need my shoes on!”

I started to try and explain that it was cold and wet outside and her feet needed to stay warm and dry but wasn’t getting anywhere.  So instead I said, ‘I know, why don’t we let your feet have a competition? Let’s see which foot can get its shoe on the fastest.  You help your feet get the shoes on and I’ll count and see which one wins.”  Charmaine’s face lit up and there was a mad scramble to get her shoes on.  Job done, quick and easy and so much more fun!

Published in Cooperation
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