Thursday, July 19, 2007

Unconditional Parenting in Practice

I really loved the book. I loved all the research included. I enjoy Alfie Kohn's writing style. So I decided to start changing my parenting style.

I'm still dealing with stopping myself from making threats, giving time outs, and withholding love. I'm still dealing with knowing how to say no at the store to my kids requests, but do it respectfully and with a good reason, and when is it okay to say no, versus saying yes on the little things?

I'm still dealing with a son who thrives on praise because that's what he's dealt with for almost 5 years, so how do I help him understand how proud I am of him all of the time without constantly telling him how I approve like I am used to doing?

On the positive side of the coin, I have found more patience and understanding in really listening to my boys needs and in giving hugs immediately and holding them as long as they want to. I see that my son likes the explanations of why something isn't okay and that he wants to immediately try again at stuff to do it right, instead of taking a time out. I am enjoying time with my kids more - which is so good, because having kids should be enjoyable.

Two anecdotes:

I was at Home Depot for the 37th time this week and trying to find the right kind of mulch. L was pushing a cart all around when he ran into someone. I saw it happen, I saw him immediately veer off and start pushing the cart again without any acknowledgement of what had happened. I called him to come talk to me, using my best calm and polite voice. The woman looked at me and said "He ran me over!" in an indignant voice. (She was still standing, so this was a bit of an overstatement.) I said "I understand." and calmly turned my attention to L. I asked him what had happened and how he felt and how he thought the lady felt. The thing that surprised me is he said he felt angry because he had not turned the cart right and had hit her. Suddenly, I saw the whole situation in a different light. He had been practicing his cart driving skills and had an accident. He was upset and wanted to practice more. I asked him how he would feel if he got hit by the cart and he didn't really know or want to think about it, I'm not sure. I explained that the lady probably felt sad and had been hurt and maybe it would be nice to say sorry. (She had already walked off in a huff, apparently because I hadn't barked out a command for him to apologize.) He said he didn't want to, and since I was ready to leave, I said, okay, let's go. That's a big deal to me, as I normally would have forced him to apologize immediately, but I decided to try the whole "work with" your child thing in the situation. :) We started to leave and he said he'd changed his mind and wanted to apologize. We had to walk around a bit to find her and he was acting shy, so I said he wanted to say something and he mumbled out "Sorry." and she said "Thank you." and turned and went about her business. L asked to try again at driving the shopping cart so I let him get another one and watched as he carefully manuevered it thru several aisles, before asking him if we could go. We left, both in a good mood and calm, L talking about his good driving skills.

Allowing myself to not care what the lady thought immediately and tending to my childs' needs was a good step for me. The whole situation could have played out so differently!

Another anecdote is when I took the kids to lunch at Potbelly's one day and the each immediately ran and got a bottled drink. Normally, I would have immediately vetoed those, but I decided that if I wanted one, I would get it, so the same respect should go to them - if they wanted it, they should have it. L further tested me, by asking for chips and then ice cream as well. I got them all of it that time, as I kept telling myself we were out to lunch for a nice relaxing time, and it was a nice treat. What it really made me think about was the article in Live Free Learn Free called "Starbucks Worthy" in a different way. When I had first read that article, I thought I was good about treating my kids well at restaurants. At Potbelly's I realized that wasn't really so. It made me realize that eating out was going to be more expensive - a great deterrent to eating out too much, but also interesting to think about going to the fast food restaurants because, I know that the kids meals are all they usually want there. Downside: I don't like any of the food at all. BK has the veggie burger that is okay - but at Wendy's it's a baked potato and salad. So again - another reason not to eat out much.

A possibly related part of this is now L asks for food at pretty much every store that has any type of restaurant, Target included, even if we just ate before coming to the store. I remind him of this and he proclaims "But I'm still hungry!" I still think of this as him testing his new limits - though it's hard to say. I can't just stop taking my kids with me to the store, so I have to figure something out about it. I guess it is something I really need to think about, but I'd love to know what others do. The little things don't bug me, but when I've just fed them breakfast or lunch and they want another meal at the store, it does frustrate me. I remember being a kid. I remember just wanting to try stuff at the store because it was new and different. Perhaps that's all he wants and I should plan a trip to do that - but then on the flip side - whenever we go to the farmer's market - L & H both remember the ice cream booth we went to the first time and run immediately there and ask for ice cream. Can I not go to the farmer's market with them without buying ice cream now?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Pondering Parenting

While reading other blogs, I stumbled across a book recommendation called Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. I have read and enjoyed some of his work previously, and the premise sounded interesting so I went and checked it out from my local library.

It has been fascinating. Things I have never pondered or realized could be an issue. I am enjoying it so much. It is really changing my lens thru which I view things.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Ch ch ch changes...

Well, it seems our summer of change is just filling up with more changes. I decided to stop eating meat for a myriad of reasons last summer. And I felt good about it and was happy about it for a long while. But recently things have started to change. I have been reading a lot of food books, and they have slowly been affecting my point of view. The latest book was called Nourishing Traditions. It was an amazing read and it is partially a cookbook. So DH & I are working to change some of our other eating habits - like sugar and processed foods. Working up to going without chocolate most of the time will be the hardest for me probably - I eat chocolate almost daily.

So I am eating meat again, when it is from pastured, free-range, humanely treated animals. Which pretty much makes me a veggie still at most restaurants. Visit Eat Wild for info on places near you that might offer pastured meat products. I have considered calling my new eating habits "flexitarian" instead of vegetarian, but I'm not really big on labels holding me down.

H has started to potty train himself almost. He takes his diaper off and goes "potty" at least once a day. He also tells us almost immediately when he does #2 now, which is a big change - he's gaining awareness. Of course he would choose the time around moving to do so...oh well. More changes...

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