I recently read through Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen for some training hours and I really can’t say enough about how much it’s simplified our parenting.
Their website has a ton of free resources and one of my favorites is the Mistaken Goal Chart. I have this on my fridge and regularly go back to it to adjust my approach with the kids.
Earlier today my son totally melted down, feet stomping and growling, at the coffee shop because… wait for it…
they put whip cream on his hot chocolate.
The looks I got today. It made me want to gather my things and hide in a hole in another country. I understand his frustration- it happens a lot. But it still wasn’t a great excuse for his behavior. I reminded him how we act when we are disappointed and that his behavior wasn’t appropriate. We finally managed to get home after two hours of similar meltdowns running errands and I ran over to my chart to figure out what in the world I should do.
I realized that his mistaken goal was probably revenge and that he was feeling hurt. I went down to talk to him about it and discovered that he had been frustrated this week after his sister refused his help (on multiple occasions) and in verbally harsh ways. I affirmed his frustration and tried to encourage his strengths and gave him tools for what to do the next time it happens. It probably doesn’t seem like a big thing but you could see a huge weight lifted off his shoulders. We also talked about how it’s ok to want to spend time with our friends and not our family, how it’s easier to play computer games than deal with regular life and we both laughed at the funny faces the baby was making.
The best part of this whole thing though is that we’re not actually done with the whole parenting thing. He didn’t get off “easy” nor is my daughter “off the hook” for her behavior.
They aren’t because tonight we are having a family meeting.
We started having them this month when needed and I think that they are my new favorite. Nelsen talks about how kids as young as 3 and 4 can participate in these meetings and get something out of them.
They can seem intimidating at first but it’s really just a time for us to get together to talk about what’s going well, what’s not going well, what expectations we have of the kids and what we can all do better. They work best if you have a set time for them and you make sure that they don’t take too long. The kids have started to really look forward to them- even if it means that things haven’t been going well.
There is a Positive Parenting approved download on their site. I haven’t used it yet but it looks like it would be a great resource.
Before I knew about this one though I made one specific to our own family and thought I would share the file with you! It’s simple but the idea is to keep everyone on track and minimize distractions.
For the meeting tonight I also printed off some files from Thirty Hand Made Days. This one has guidelines for practical life activities. (Some kiddos can do more but this is a good starting point). I also printed off some files from Childhood 101. She has a great printable for dealing with big emotions and another one for calming down. Be sure to check those out.