I have been practicing a few guidance techniques lately that I wanted to share with you….
Show of hands…. how many of you ask “WHY?” to your young children on a regular basis wanting to know his/her intent for their behavior?
(raising my hand)
Here are a few examples of my very own “Why?” questions…
1) “Why did you hit your sister?”
2) “Why did you pee on your dresser?”
3) “Why did you throw that food on the floor?”
Well, the answers are usually
1) “because she was pushing me.”
2) “because I thought it would be fun.”
3) “because I didn’t want it any more.”
Okay soooo there are teachable moments that follow these instances of course. But lately, I have been practicing a tip that I think is from “Parenting is Heart Work” to ask more WHAT questions rather than “why” questions.
OHHHHH that makes SOOOO much more sense.
It gives my kids time to reflect on WHAT they just did and not try to figure out why they just did it.
So instead, I have been taking Sean Patrick’s hand and in a calm, loving (non-condescending) voice saying
1) “What did your hand just do?”….. “What are our hands for?” “Are they for hitting?” “What can you do next time to solve your problem more calmly?”
2) “What did you just do to your dresser?” “Is the dresser for tee tee or the potty for tee tee?” “What should you do next time you need to tee tee?”
3) “What did you just do to your food?” “Is that where your food goes when you are done?” “What should we do with our food when we are done?”
This makes the teachable moments so much more interactive and impressionable trust me!
And I am sure you are all still stuck on number 2 haha
Well, another tip I am learning from “Parenting is Heart Work” is to stay calm and NOT be reactive by showing sorrow instead of anger. So when Sean Patrick peed on his dresser I put the palms of my hands and my fingertips together like I was praying, put my pointer fingers up to my lips and CLOSED my eyes with frowed eyebrows (try this right now to see what I am talking about).
I held that position for about 15 seconds and didn’t say anything. Sean Patrick started asking me WHY questions haha “Why are you sad mom?” (still no response) “I’m sorry I tee teed on my dresser!” (still in prayerful pose) “I will never do it again!” (still praying to stay calm) “Why are you sad?”
Then I responded. I am sad because you tee teed in your room so now it will stink. I am sad because you tee teed on your clothes and now it all needs to be washed. And I was hoping that you knew where you are supposed to tee tee every time.
In this instance I didn’t need to ask him the WHAT questions because he acknowledge WHAT he did when I was in prayer pose. And he decided that he was not going to do that again which is what I would have asked him as well.
He didn’t do it again, and in fact he came up to me the next time he tee teed and said “Mom I tee teed in the potty and not on my dresser… Are you proud of me?”
Haha “Yes big boy, yes I am very proud that you made a good choice.”