Sep 22, 2009

My Favorite Power Struggles

are the ones I let them resolve on their own. For instance, I had a kid this morning who didn't want to finish her letters. So she didn't have to... but it was enough mental torture for her, knowing that she hadn't finished and it STILL went in the file folder with all the other, finished ones...

Honestly, there's no need for punishments, I don't think, unless someone hurts someone or destroys something or takes something from someone else without giving it back and apologizing. Everything else has a natural consequence that actually requires very little intervention on my part, I've noticed. I've felt a lot better during and after the times I've allowed natural consequences occur, as opposed to allowing my own anger or annoyance make a situation completely artificial. It is tempting, for instance, when it's the fifth time you've had to carefully employ natural consequences to a particular child in a single morning, to do something you know will really "make them see reason."

ONe thing I have learned, especially working with kids who don't speak my language, is if you do let your temper get the better of you, that is what they focus on. The lesson they learn is, "mom was mad, so she put me in my room," and not, "I got put in my room because I colored on the table with crayons." I mean, really, who can blame them. It WAS because Mom was mad that they got put in their room, otherwise Mom would have been calm enough to remember that a very nice natural consequence (and also a removal of the source of annoyance to Mom) would be to make the kid clean the crayon off the table.

I am about 50 50 right now, and working on it. It depends on the day, honestly. There are days when I lose it and days when I somehow keep things going well until Dad comes home. But I'm getting better!!! Nothing like 5 kids under the age of 7 to give me loooots of pratice, haha. :)

7 comments:

A girl called dallan said...

Such hard work. I say it again: your children are very blessed that they got you for their mother.

Leah said...

Love to read your posts, thanks for your kind words all the time, I have a moment to post to you. You are a strong,brave, wonderful mother with a lot of love and care. I hope to build myself up to that point day by day with the battles and challenges the Lord has given me.These are my blessings, and life lessons,I will one day know what there is to learn from this all, and heal in the meantime. Thank you for being a support to my broken wing.. Leah

merrilykaroly said...

"otherwise Mom would have been calm enough to remember that a very nice natural consequence (and also a removal of the source of annoyance to Mom) would be to make the kid clean the crayon off the table."

but... isn't the punishment ("go to your room" or a raised voice) because you are trying to teach your kids to stay within the boundaries you've given them? it's the principle of the thing, not just the washable crayon on the table. next they will be writing on the walls.... with markers. the only reason I say that is because that's the same thing I have been trying to teach my one little child all week-- don't draw on anything but paper with those crayons!! not everything washes off that you can write with, and it doesn't come off of everything as easily as off of a table. what do you think? maybe I am being too strict with my little guy by grabbing the crayon away from him and raising my voice.... I agree that it is good to have them clean up a mess they have made, if possible. can't wait until my guy is old enough to clean stuff :). very interesting discussion of "natural consequences"-- I need to think about it more.

NoSurfGirl said...

Merrily--- I think age has a big amount to do with it. Of course you can't make jr clean the crayon of the table, lol. No, right now you're just starting with the consequences thing. Honestly, I always start with timeouts. THey only have to be 30 seconds to two minutes long for squirt right now.

No, I'm more talking about older kids who know better. It is HARD to clean crayon off a table! And I make them do it by themselves. They get good and frustrated... with themselves. :)

My mom would also have us pay for destroyed property/having property repaired... especially when we were a teenager and could earn money. That was also a good natural consequence.

NoSurfGirl said...

Leah...

I just think you guys are awesome. And there is an end in sight!!! There is!!! I don't know what I'd do in your situation honestly you should be teaching me a whole lot.

Lucy Stern said...

Telling the child that you don't draw on furniture and then having them clean it up works unless they keep doing it...You might have to take the crayons away for a while.

NoSurfGirl said...

Lucy: that's another good one... hard to implement when you have lots of kids who all use crayons, but sometimes a natural consequence is one person losing a privilege for a group of people, too.
We haven't gotten quite to that point yet.

Oh and Merrily I wanted to mention one more thing and that's magic eraser. It can get just about everything off of walls... I've even had results with permanent marker. Making the kid use the magic eraser is a tricky thing... make sure they have gloves because that stuff is NASTY. Supervision would be required... it would probably have to be a mom-kid combined project.