So, my darling third child is a lively one, born four weeks early on April 1, no less, and she’s got the personality to match. She is spunky, funny and a good-time girl and she makes her desires known. She is almost 16-months now and she has some words and some signs, but, still, when she wants something, she screams a blood curdling voluminous “Maaam!” She is calling my name to indicate her full demand of what she sees and wants immediately. Often the object of her desire is to get up in her highchair, or to be picked up, or something that comes into view that she wants: a phone, pen, or watermelon for example. I always understand what she wants and often, I am willing to give it to her and even on my way to give it to her, but this doesn’t stop her successive, chilling screams while she waits.
I tried saying, “One second, sweetie.” Scream. “Yes, I understand you want the pen. I’m almost there.” Scream. ”I’m getting it.” Scream. “Please don’t scream, baby, it hurts my ears.” Scream. Finally, I had the break through, which is a notion I was presenting at our last L.O.V.E. Parenting workshop: “What do I need, what do I want, and have I asked for it?”
What I need is for the high pitched scream to stop because it hurts my ears and is jarring to my nerves, what I want is for my daughter to ask for what she wants, and, now, my asking for it.
My daughter ran over to the highchair and held it and screamed. I replied in a light, optimistic voice, “Up, please.” She responded with “Da, Dee,” and held her arms up. It was unbelievable! She got it the first time! By giving her the words I’d like her to use, rather than my response, she was able to give me the communication I was wanting. When I was giving her my previous responses, she had no way of knowing I took issue with her scream. By modeling, “Up, please,” she hears that I understand her desire and she hears how I want her to ask me.
Now, she sees a juice bottle on the counter. Scream. I look at her and say, “Juice, please,” with a smile. She says, “Da, Dee.” She sees her sister eating a peach. Scream. I look at her with relaxed kindness, say her name and say, “Peach, please,” and you got it, she puts her arms up and says, “Da, dee.”
After a few weeks of this, she has, “Request, please,” right there, as the second response, usually. Generally, she’s still leading with the scream, but the arms up and “Da, dee,” is a close second, and occasionally it’s even come first! Modeling, modeling, modeling. Da, dee. L.O.V.E. Parenting.
About Jessica Williams
Jessica Williams created L.O.V.E. Parenting with a series of techniques for effective communication, deepened connection and more joy in parenting and life. Jessica is also the creator of www.UltimateParentingCourse.com with the best of today's progressive parenting experts together in one program. Jessica is a featured expert internationally on both Mothering.com’s Ask An Expert and the upcoming www.KidsInTheHouse.com. Jessica is a regular contributor to Mothering Magazine’s All Things Mothering, LA Parent Magazine, LA Mom Magazine & DailyBuzzMoms. She has been interviewed on television and radio and taught workshops at family wellness centers, schools and doctor’s offices. Her BirthKit has helped women have a transformational & empowering birth. Jessica maintains a private coaching practice in her native Los Angeles where she lives with her husband and their three children. “Truly amazing woman. I love her advice.”—Carrie-Anne Moss. “All you have shared has helped tremendously.”—Lisa Bonet. “I am experiencing nothing short of a miracle thanks to your laser beam approach.” –Andrea Bendewald.