This week both my children showed more frustration. When they fight over a toy, my girl got a little more violent. My boy jumps on the spot when he doesn’t get a sweet in the colour he asked for.
I used to think I teach them to manage their emotions well. Whoever shows negative emotions, I would have the child stand beside my bed. I would wait for the child to explain himself of herself.
Now that I’m trying to practice Appreciation Education, my paradigm seemed to have shifted a little. I no longer bring my children into my room for the “time outs”. I think the split second of me grabbing them and putting them down at the spot beside my bed instill fear. And once that kicks in, the child cries more, takes longer time to calm down and may remember the fear more than what I’m trying to teach.
Last night I wasn’t feeling well and was resting in my room. The men in the house aren’t good at handling kids’ fights. My Father-In-Law looked after my kids, upon my Mother-In-Law’s request, so my helper could have her dinner. Not a minute has passed when cries of both kids were heard. I rushed over as I heard my Father-In-Law scolding my girl for not letting my boy play with the toy he wanted.
I stroked their heads, attempting not to get them in the defensive. I cuddled my boy as I sat beside my girl. I asked gently: “What happened darlings?”
Both told me that they wanted the same toy and my girl didn’t let my boy play with it.
(success 1 – in a short time, I get to know the truth).
So I asked my boy : “did you say the magic word?”
He was still angry. He kicked. I held him down, and patted his back.
With a very soft voice, he said “Please. Could you let me have the toy?”
“No.” replied my girl.
My boy cried again.
“Later” said my girl.
I suggested my boy count to ten and counted with him (I taught his method last time too to help him calm down while waiting and hopefully help with his counting).
“Later” repeated my girl.
So I asked for my boy “how many counts later?” I asked
She had us counted ten, and then one and released the toy in her hands.
I stopped them from rushing to play again and told them to hug each other and say “I will share my toys with you”.
The kids were happy again.
So, what I did differently last night was
1) not grabbing them and making them stand in a spot – to avoid instilling fear, and thus resistance.
2) not to scold or raise my voice – to calm them down.
3) Most importantly – I changed my paradigm. I used to tell them they need not cry when they don’t get something they want.
Now I don’t tell.
– I understand they have the right to get emotional and they need time and help to calm down
– I hope that by not raising my voice and not instilling fear, they learn better.