The Connected Child, Chapter 6

Monday, November 15, 2010

I have been alerted that comments were disabled on my blog (thanks Jess!). Lesson: I am NOT good at managing the various widgets and all that on my blog page.  All I wanted to do was be able to reply directly to specific posts. I really like the intensedebate comment system, but obviously cannot install it correctly on my site. I swear I followed the directions exactly.

So...chapter 6 of The Connected Child is chock-full of helpful parenting advice. I wish that I had read this book before my oldest was born. He has a personality that would have responded so very well to all of these tips.  

For me, the highlight and most applicable part of the whole chapter is the "IDEAL approach". Just an acronym reminder about how to deal with challenges from your children, and one that I desperately need to implement more often.

I: You respond immediately - within 3 seconds of misbehavior
D: You respond directly - eye contact, undivided attention, physical proximity
E: The response is efficient and measured, using the least amount of firmness and corrective effort necessary.  You also use the least amount of words possible.
A: Action-based response.  Actively redirect your child to better behavior.  Often a re-do is the appropriate action for this step.
L: You level the response at the behavior, not the child.  Your child is never rejected, even when behavior is rejected.

A re-do is just a chance to reenact the entire scenario with the appropriate response. A small example would be if I ask Mr. B to pick up the toys and he gets mad at me and throws the toy towards the toy box, I would then allow him to retrieve the toy, bring it back to where we started and then place it in the toy box in an appropriate manner. We have been using re-do's off and on with Mr. B. It is very effective for minor offenses. I find it a tad impractical for major things at this point. I definitely like that it hard-wires an appropriate response into his memory. Not just his 'thinking' memory, but his physical memory as well. I have tried it a couple times with Ben and Maggie as well, to fairly good effect Now that I'm writing this, I wonder what it is about a technique that works well that makes me forget about using it more often! I can write a whole paragraph about how well it's worked when I've used it but can't seem to actually use it when I most need it.

I think the part I need to work on most is the efficient and measured response. I tend to over-respond. A little firmer than necessary, a little louder than necessary, and a lot more words than necessary. If I can keep my tone, my demeanor, and my words at the least amount necessary to accomplish the correction, it would be much more effective.  Mr. B, especially, needs the quiet, calm firmness to help him feel secure. I think it's similar to what I talked about with Chapter 5 - the need for order and peace. When things feel out of control, I tend towards more structure, when really, what is necessary is more nurturing. A properly nurtured family will naturally be more at peace.

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