Friday, March 9, 2012

Validating Feelings and Positive Time Out

I have been applying the Positive Discipline Parenting Tools for 2 months now. If you have been following along, are you feeling overwhelmed yet? I know I am...and we still have 42 more weeks to go! Yikes!

The good news is...the tools have been working. Family Meetings is my favorite. My kids look forward to our weekly family meeting and they have been great about finding solutions to the challenges put on the weekly family meeting agenda.

Special Time is another one of my favorite parenting tools. I have been putting our weekly special time on my calendar and making it a priority. But I never have to consult my calendar, because my kids remind me. I have been amazed how much they are looking forward to their special time.

The parenting tools for the past two weeks have been Validate Feelings and Positive Time Out.

I have to be honest, validating feelings is not one of my strong suits. I have trouble validating my own feelings much less validating the feelings of my children. Sometimes I will try and draw out feelings from my kids by asking them how they are doing, but I don't get much information from them.

My lack of skill in this area may be an inherent hazard of being a single dad. Men don't grow up discussing feelings with their friends. We spend time playing sports and finding creative ways to put each other down. Sensitivity is not exactly celebrated in the world of men. This is not an excuse, just a fact.

That is why learning tools is that much more important for me. I don't need to fix the feelings my children are having. Instead I can just use language that is validating. Dr. Jane Nelsen recommends statements like "I know how much that hurts." "I can see that you are upset." "That's how I feel sometimes."

I will try practicing these kind of staements this week. Maybe this will also come in handy at my monthly poker night with the guys. When I win a particularly large pot of money, I could say..."I know how much that hurts." "I can see that you are upset." "That's how I feel sometimes." HA! :-)

Positive Time Out is the other tool card that Dr. Jane Nelsen discussed this week. I can see how this would be very useful when my kids are have a bout of sibling rivalry. I have tried this in the past, but it has been in a more punitive way. "Both of you go to your rooms!" This week at our family meeting, I will suggest a more positive use of positive time out. I'm sure when they are starting to bug each other, a few minutes of positive time out would do wonders.

Positive Time Out would also be great for me! I don't lose my cool very often, but I have had my moments. I can think of many times when I have said things I wish I could take back. In those situations a positive time out could have prevented my outbursts. As a parent, I think I might even benefit more than my kids by using a positive time out.

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