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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>I have started to make a transition in myself and household towards gentle discipline.I've read through Easy to Love Difficult to Discipline and I am realizing how much I've been shaped by the way I was raised. (That is probably a topic for another post though). I've already noticed a change in my ways of thinking and have felt overall more peaceful.</p>
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<p>All that being said however, I do feel myself struggling at times. I know the more I practice the better I'll get but it is hard work for me.</p>
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<p>So my question is how do you manage helping your kids talk about their feelings and help them figure out their disputes when you have absolutely no time to do so. This morning I had a ton of things to accomplish before a certain time and I know that with better planning I wouldn't have had as much to do and that is a good lesson to me however I'm sure that there will be times like this again. The boys (age 4 and 18 months) were fighting over books. As soon as I would help them resolve their dispute they would start about a different book. They both wanted to read the same book but did not want to read it together.</p>
 

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<p> Haim Ginott, in his books, recommends something that works very well to defuse the resistance and maintain/improve connection. I refer to the technique as "steer into the skid!" Much like experts tell you to take the counterintuitive step of steering into a skid on an icy road when the car is out of control, go right into the center of what the kids are doing/saying to resist you (or each other). Agree with them. Reflect the feelings that their crazy-looking actions might be communicating. It sounds like exactly the wrong thing to do, but you'd be surprised how often it works.<br><br>
Example: We have to leave now! (you've given ample warnings and feel that it's reasonable that they should want to now cooperate). No, Mama!! No!!! (playing continues, mayhem ensues, whatever....). What you could do then instead of doubling-down the effort to contradict them, persuade them that they need to, etc. you could meet them where they are.<br><br>
"You guys are having lots of fun and you don't want to go."<br>
"Yeah, Mama."<br>
"You wish you could play in your room here with toys until the moon comes out."<br>
(giggles) "Yes! We do!"<br>
Now you're on the same side, resistance is lessened.<br>
"Ok, now, I think that would be fun too. But if we don't go now, we will be late and miss the play date. How about we play as soon as we get home?"<br><br>
Another example:<br>
Kids are fighting over a toy. Now, mind you, I only have one child so this isn't a common scenario for us, but he's got friends and they have occasional conflicts.<br>
"You guys are fighting over the book."<br>
"(screaming, fighting) "Yeah!! He took it from me! No, he took it from ME!"<br>
"Books look more interesting when your brother is holding them. I know! (you could try becoming funny, here, with a sort of silly look on your face) I will cut the books in half. Each one of you can have a half. Does that sound good?"</p>
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A lot depends on your kids' personalities. If my kid heard this he would burst into tears and hand over the book rather than see them cut in half, even if I was just joking! But maybe you will have better luck.</p>
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Also, since one is 4 years old and the other is littler, you could appeal to the older one's sense of setting an example for the brother. Gesture to him that you want to speak to him privately with an important sounding whisper and beckoning motion with your finger. Go over to the side, get down to his level and say "Johnny is just little and he's just learning how to share. You can show him how…" That's another way.<br><br>
This doesn't need to take forever; these conversations can be quick. And I am just brainstorming. But another thing that I do when a longer conversation is needed but there is no time, I may force the issue at the time, get out the door, and then LATER as I am tucking my son into bed, when we are peaceful and happy, I might say "I am sorry I was so forceful with you today on the way to the doctor's appointment. You understand why we had to get going, right? What do you think we could do differently next time?" Obviously at age 4 he's not going to come up with big involved ideas, but the general idea is that you are showing him that you care about the connection between you, and that you remember that there may have been hurt feelings about your heavy-handedness. After all, the conflict between the boys may look insane and trivial to us, but they are acting out something that is important to them. A sense of individuality, perhaps? A sense of territory, and a weariness at not having their own space? Or just natural, human, mimetic desire. Whatever it is, it's important to them and even if the delay they cause is just one big whopping pain to us, it feels awfully important to them. And they will appreciate that you are trying to see it their way, and to enunciate their feelings which, when young, are easier to act out than elucidate.<br><br><br><br>
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
<p>Thanks for the ideas and taking the time to reply! I wanted to reply sooner but both my little guys are under the weather with ear infections so I haven't had much time to myself.</p>
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<p>The steering into the skid technique would probably work well with my guys. I like the idea of being on their side first, sometimes I struggle with figuring out what to say so I am on their side, again practice will help with this I'm sure.</p>
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<p>I was feeling stressed out and mad at myself for not handling the situation better. I'm glad that I can come here and talk about it and ask for help. Thanks!</p>
 
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