Decide what you will do, instead of engaging in power struggles, to invite cooperation and change.
1) Plan what you will do and notify in advance:
“When the table is set I will serve dinner.”
“I will help with homework on Tues. and Thurs., but not last minute”
“When chores are done I will drive you to your friend’s house.”
2) Follow through on your plan with kindness and firmness.
I think the key to this tool card is the "notify in advance" part. I think kids thrive in an environment of structure where they know what to expect. I have to admit that this is not necessarily my strong suit. I have admitted before in this blog, that I tend to be more reactionary than proactive. But I am trying to remedy that situation by using the tool cards.
I'm trying to think of a specific situation when I could use this in the coming week, but I am having trouble thinking of one. Maybe somebody else can help me with an example. I will also be interested to hear what Dr. Jane Nelsen has to say about this topic.
An example that I'm going to work on this week is the lunch box situation.
Ideal situation: Kids are responsible for their own lunches, including making lunches and then cleaning lunch box and contents after school (ages 8, 12 and almost 14).
Second best: I still make lunches but the kids clean out their own lunch boxes after school.
Better than nothing: The kids at the very least dig out their lunch bags from their knapsacks and put them on the counter after school so that I'm not asking where the boxes are in the morning and rushing to clean them out and make lunches.
This week I'm going to pick the second best option and take time to go over what's involved in cleaning out the lunch boxes (left over food in organic waste, plastic containers in dishwasher, wash out lunch box and put in drying rack). Then I will let everyone know that I will make the lunch if the lunch box has been cleaned out. No more nagging or well if you'd only cleaned out your lunch box you'd have your lunch! Wish me luck!
I'm also interested in Dr. Jane Nelsen's take on this (and the last card too).
i have been tryng to do this a lot more.
So during family meeting you would discuss rules. Like when we are done eating we clear are plates and wash them off. Instead of nagging when it is time to clear the plates.
Montessori uses this a lot. You misbehave you choose a chair. When you are done with something you clean it up. Or you spill something you clean it up. When we come into the house we take off our shoes, hang up our jackets, and wash hands. Let the routine be the guide instead of you need to clear your plate you would say we clear our plate when we are done eating. I have young kids so I am not sure if this will help you. My 2 year old responds quite well to this.
One thing I try to notice is a pattern. If my kids are generally good about getting through their routines without any problems, I don't mind helping them out if they are running late one day. This morning my daughter slept in and asked if I could help her by making a lunch. I was happy to help because she is normally very responsible about getting up on time and getting ready. But if I notice a pattern then I will address the issue.
I LOVED Montessori!!! I would go pick my kids up and be in awe watching how organized and responsible they were. I would be thinking "Wait a minute, are these the same kids who can't even walk two steps to put their dirty clothes in the hamper???" But there was just something special about the atmosphere at a Montessori school.
Brad, I totally agree with you - I'm more than happy to help out sometimes, modeling the kind of behaviour I would appreciate for the times that I could use a hand. This lunch box thing has been going on for years but I've always wavered and not followed through which has helped it to continue for so long.
We had our family meeting yesterday and I did a very quick, friendly reminder about the lunch boxes. This morning my 8 year old son's lunch box was all ready so I made his lunch, my 13 year old came up and said "What? I don't get a lunch?" and I was empathetic but left it at that. My 12 year old just grabbed a juice box and headed out the door!
I think I'll make sure I have a healthy snack all ready for them to dive into when they get home.
Brad, It is "Mom" to you, and here is what I have to say. I'm learning that one of the problems with these tool cards is that people may not understand that the examples are meant to create a concept. Some people take them too literally. The reason I suggested you pick this card was so you can see how many things you could have decided to do instead of trying to get Gibson to do them such as picking out a piece of pizza for Gibson and then removing the box, or taking your pizza to eat on the couch saying something like, "There isn't enough room at the table to each with the pizza box taking up so much room." Whenever you are in a power struggle, see if there is something you could do that would not require making Gibson do something. The key, however, is to do it good naturedly rather than sarcastically. :-)
I really need to work on kind and firm at the same time. I can be kind and I can definitely be firm, but I struggle with combining the two. But I could see how I can use the "Decide What You Will Do" tool card to help.
Hmmm.....did I create a power struggle with my lunch box decision? I think I might have. I haven't had too much cooperation to be honest, which is my first clue! I think my middle child sees this as a "challenge"!
Maybe for this situation it's more helpful to go back to basics and work on a routine that includes the lunch box, and trying to work together to increase cooperation.
It's crazy how long this frustrating pattern has gone on!
"Whenever you are in a power struggle, see if there is something you could do that would not require making Gibson do something."
wow... i really like this idea.
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