Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Worse before its better

So DS1 has had a cold for about a week, it reached it's peak yesterday, but no fever, so I sent him to school. Today, he wanted to stay home, so I said "well I have a lot of cleaning to do around the house to get ready for our visitors tonight; if you stay home, you will need to help." I grew up with parents who would not let me stay home unless I was puking, or had a fever, so I have adopted the same thought. So, since he was not really sick enough to stay home by my book I gave him a choice. We are all about giving choices at our house now!

Well. here it comes the "it's going to get worse before it gets better." part. I always do smoothies in the morning, and the kids all get a great big one for breakfast. Since DS1 is fighting a cold we focus on fruit and juice and no dairy or wheat (which causes more phlegm). So I packed it full of stuff today (more than usual, and much more than MOST people get in a day!). I bustled around the house cleaning and straightening things, because I also had to go to the store, so I wanted to get it all done before DS3 woke from his morning nap. I asked DS1 to get the Bathroom cleaned up (this is his ONE chore). He refused, because it is not Saturday. I told him this was a special circumstance and needed his help. nothing. Spent an hour cleaning his room (which was supposedly cleaned last night). So I said "you'll need to have the bathroom done before you next eat."
DS1 said "I'm not doing the bathroom!"
me "Well then I guess it's going to be a long day."
Him " I want to eat!!! I never get a breakfast. You never let me have a good meal!"
me "I'm sorry you feel that way, you are welcome to eat when the bathroom is cleaned."
again he told me he wasn't going to clean th bathroom. All the while I am trying to tidy up the house, and the other two kids are dressed and ready to go to the store.
I finished what I had needed to get done, before going to the store, but DS1 was still sleeping so I got some grapes out and washed them and had the kids come in my room to watch a movie. This was to get away from DS1 who at this point is now tipping over my chairs, screaming that I don't care about him (because he is obviously starving), and throwing all of the cushions off the couch. Trying desperately to get a reaction out of me and failing, so he is getting more and more violent.

I took the kids in the room with the grapes and some crackers. we ate and watched a movie. I ignored DS1. Grandma called and said she was coming over, so I told her what was going on. She said she would take DS2 and DD to her house. YEAH!!!! That way I don't have to try to shield them from his rage.

Grandma came, so we went out to the living room to find that DS1 had completely torn it up- couch was moved, my big chair tipped over, lazy boy tipped. yeah, stuff everywhere!!! DS2 said "that's not good!" and I said "oh too bad, looks like there's going to have to be a consequence- later." and DD said "oh, shoop!" I think she thinks she's TLC (if anyone remembers them and their Shoop song!). Ha ha little humor there- just some relief. I said good bye to them and made sure to mention that they were going to get ice cream at grandma's house.

Funny thing happened when Grandma left, DS1 said "sorry mom, I'll clean up the mess."
I said "I know." And went back to do what I was doing. He then carried on about being hungry and did some more pouting, but he did the bathroom and cleaned up the living room. It's 1pm and he is finally eating!

I know now why Jim Fay says Kids are "drunk" on emotions. Have you ever tried to reason with a drunk? Have you ever talked to one? It is ridiculous! One minute they can be spouting off all sorts of profanity and nonsense, and the next they are all "I love you, you are so great!" as if the other never happened. THAT was DS1 today. For the last half hour (yes it all only took a half hour to do!!) while he was doing his work, he was whistling, and checking in, telling me all about "pirates of the Caribbean X-box game." What the crap?!! I will NEVER understand this boy!

So on to the consequence. WHAT do I do? I can't just let it go, but I have no idea what a good "natural" consequence would be. Any suggestions would be great! I am proud of myself however for not giving in to his tantrum and reacting with more anger. Believe me, I wanted to. I am so happy that i have found something that works, even though I am SOOOOO not perfect at it, there is light at the end!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Delayed Consequences

So, in my many classes in Child Development, and years in Child Care, I have been taught about immediate and natural consequences. I always struggled with this, because I can't often think of a good one on the spot. Also many times I am so mad, frustrated, or surprised that I am not in the right mind. Jim Fay calls this being "drunk on emotions;" and you can't reason with a drunk. He uses this phrase also when talking about the kids who are upset about a consequence. He says "save the words for happy times." The L&L philosophy is to delay consequences, a new concept for me.

I like the concept because this allows me to step back from the situation by simply saying "oh, looks like I'm going to have to do something about this... but now, later" I then can consult with others, with DH, and think of a good LOGICAL reaction to what has occurred. Problem: I forget!!! I say this and then go about my business. When the time comes for "later" I often forget. I struggle with finding stuff that will work for DS1 especially.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Threats, reminding, and Warnings

In L&L, Jim teaches that consequences need to come just as they would in the real world. That in the real world we do not get warnings and reminders, so we act accordingly. For instance; when DS2 is getting into the fridge all day long, my response is often "stay out of the fridge." Followed by an exacerbated "GET OUT OF THE FRIDGE!" Then after about the fourth time, I march over, with the green spew I talked about before coming out of my eyes, and I slam the fridge shut, grab him by the arm and march him down to his room (which is in the basement which doesn't have a door), for time out. He of course is up point three seconds later, and the battle of staying in his room for timeout begins, until I give up because I can't make him stay.

What should happen is that the first time he gets into the fridge I say "ut oh, looks like you are having little bit of trouble remembering the rules in our house. I'm going to let you have time in your room to think about it." And take him to his room (which would have a door with the lock on the outside, so he can not get out). He would scream and throw a fit for a minute, then I would start the time, unlock the door and tell him he can come out when the timer goes off.
The problem here is that 1. his room doesn't have a door right now, 2. I am often feeding DS3, and can't get up to do this, or 3. I get frustrated that I have to go over this with him ALL the time. I forget that he is three and that I am going to have to continually work with him. I forget that he is testing me, and when I get angry I am failing miserably!

As I sit and write this tonight, DS2 is supposed to be in bed, but keeps coming up. We keep telling him to go to bed, and are getting frustrated with him. I finally went down with him and said "if you come up again, you will not be going to playgroup tomorrow" I then walked up the stairs and thought 'oh crap, I am not supposed to warn him!' See, it is so much more effective if they don't KNOW what the consequence is going to be.

I find myself always reminding DS1 when he is supposed to be doing a chore. He gets distracted so easy, and I am constantly keeping him on task, and getting frustrated while doing it. I am so glad that now I can learn to just let it go, and allow the consequences to come. What sucks, is delivering the consequences!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

History- why I am doing this.

I am going to start by giving a little bit of history of myself to explain why I am doing this. When I was born my mom was mentally handicapped, and my dad was old. There were four of us (ironically 3 girls and 1 boy), each about a year apart. There was NO control, and at last resort, my dad (when he could actually catch us) would pull out his belt to discipline us. When I was 7 years old we were put into a Foster Home. We returned home for a short time, but were permanently placed when I was 9 years old. I grew up not knowing what would happen from month to month and wondering when my home was going to change. The "parents" I had for a long time had taken all four of us in and had two of their own. We were to say the least a shock to their little family and she (the mom) had an extremely difficult time keeping her emotions in check while trying to teach us. You might say that it appeared we had been raised by a pack of wolves, so she had her work cut out for her. She resorted to anger, frustration, and fear. As a Junior in High School, I was moved once again to a family who was absolutely amazing. They knew how to do it and they knew how to keep their children's self esteem in tact. But I was 16 and of course already knew everything, so what they tried to teach, I fought. Plus, for the first time in my life I had freedom, so I went wild!

When I had a child of my own, I just wanted to be the Coolest mom. I wanted to give my baby everything, and was not going to be like the mom's I had. I thought I had figured out the best of all of them and was going to be the mom that everyone wanted to hang out with. I studied Child Development and received a Bachelors Degree. Yep I thought I knew it all! Then, he got a little older, and I realized that I couldn't control him, but that fear set in of something happening to him, or that he would make the same mistakes I did. And my instincts crept in before I realized it, I was yelling and screaming and as a friend of mine once described it- green spew was coming out of my eyes. I knew this was not the way, and felt horrible every time I lost my temper with that sweet little spirit., but I couldn't let go of what I was taught.

DH's sister-in-law told us about a program called "Love and Logic" a few years ago, but I thought that all we had to do is pray, and the child would fit what I wanted. Then I wouldn't HAVE to yell, scream, or get angry. Oh boy, was I ever wrong!!! And deep down I knew this but not ready to accept it at the time, I avoided it.

Over the last year I have done a LOT of praying as I have struggled with my own issues and have learned that the only one I can control is ME. I have studied the scriptures and have learned about taking responsibility for me, being a good example, and LOVING my children. I have always loved my children of course, but am now ready and able to SHOW them in every way.

My Christmas present this year was a "LifeSavers Kit" of "Love and Logic." I have listened to all of the 8 CD's, and am reading the book. I still have a long way to go, but now I can show my children that I have control of myself. One of the biggest steps they teach about this program is giving control over to the child, and in turn gaining control. It is forgiving myself of the mistakes and moving on. It is allowing myself to be the mom I have always wanted to be, by not worrying so much about what other people might think. Their choices are not an exact reflection of my parenting; because they have their own mind.

So "LL Cool Mom" is my name and cool mom is to remind me or to ask the question "Did I keep my cool?" I created this to write about the good things that I see happen, the struggles I have in applying the program, and then to ask for suggestions at times for what to do in certain situations. Jim Fay (who is now my best friend) says that we can't raise our children alone, but we MUST rely on our friends to help with the tough situations that can and do come up.

Love allows children to grow through their mistakes
Logic allows children to live with the consequences of their choices.

I will try to update my blog daily with opportunities I have to use the program, or failures I have had. I have found that if it is something I have to be accountable for to others, than I think about it more, and will (hopefully) be more successful. This is RAW, honest, and sometimes I am sure, emotional. So PLEASE bare with me as I share. I want to come out of this with happy, responsible, caring children. I want to LIKE being a mom again, and I want to STOP feeling so defeated.