The Parenting Tool we focused on this week was: Connection Before Correction. Another of my favorites, and one that I find fairly easy to implement. I feel like I have, over the past few years, made this tool a natural part of my parenting style. Not to say that there aren't times that I should have done it and didn't, but for the most part it is one of the tools I pull out of the Positive Discipline tool bag most often. In fact this has been such an integral part of my 5 year old's life thus far that she often uses it on my husband and I and even on the baby occasionally. Just the other day I was peeking in on them playing together on the floor. The baby was hitting the TV very hard and then he hit my daughter as she got close to him. She put her arms around him and pulled him down from the tv and said, "We love you when you try to stand up, but you can't hit the tv, it might fall on you"! It was so sweet to hear her use this tool with him and even more importantly it showed me that she has picked up a respectful way of approaching another person. Score! Another point for Positive Discipline!
My favorite use of this tool is to make a connection and then find a solution together. I think children feel so safe and respected when we let them know we love them and when we include them in finding the solution to a problem together. Just yesterday my daughter was trying to start a cd that had a song that she liked to dance along to. As she was inserting the cd and trying to skip to the song she wanted, the baby was fast approaching ready to smash the cd player to pieces (maybe not really, but that is how it seems sometimes). So my husband started saying, "Hurry, just close the door(to the entertainment center) so the baby doesn't get in there!!!". Of course, my daughter got all upset feeling rushed and my husband didn't know what she was trying to do in there, so she ended up just slamming the door and rushing off to her room crying. I went in after her and offered her a hug while I told her that I love her and hate to see her upset. I asked her what made her feel so angry (even though I already had a feeling I knew the answer). She explained that she was trying to get to her song and daddy wouldn't let her. I asked her why daddy wouldn't let her. She knew it was because the baby could get hurt on the entertainment center. When I asked her what she could do so that everyone would be happy, she came up with a great solution. She decided she would tell daddy that she doesn't like it when he rushes her. She also thought it would be good to ask him to pick up the baby before she opened the entertainment center so that he wouldn't get into it. She went back out to the living room and told her dad her solution.
It really is amazing how an upset child calms down quickly when you take time to make a connection, then once they are calm and feeling loved and respected they are much more willing and capable of helping to come up with a solution or even listening to your solution.
On to the next week. The tool to focus on will be: Family Meetings!?!