First.....seriously Mother Nature? December 23rd and all you got for us is a thunderstorm, complete with lightening? *shrug* I know there's a snowstorm headed our way and the newspeople are all "Yippee!! It's gonna be a white Christmas!!" but, I won't believe it til it's on the ground...jus' sayin'....
Second....I may have mentioned a few times (like, eleventy thousand times!!) that Landon has/is a bit of a behavior challenge for us. And, I may have *mentioned* to his pediatrician more than a few times the same challenges. At his last visit, I mentioned it yet again and she told me about a book called "Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood-Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years". I was skeptical to say the least, the very least. But, I put it on hold at the library and got the news it was ready for pick up this past Monday. I got it, I started reading it, I scoffed thru about the first quarter of it thinking to myself "There is NO way this is going to work on Landon, no way." But, I kept reading and...a funny thing happened. It actually made sense, it seemed that it just might be plausible that it would work. Sooooo....I took some of the principles and gave them a whirl. Y'all? Hallelujah, amen and praise the Lord, there's been peace in our house for the last 2 days at least 90% of time!! (At this very moment however, we're experiencing part of the other 10% of time....oy!).
The principles behind the concept are very basic and, well, logical, to be honest. Build the self-concept, share control/decision-making, offer empathy *then* consequences and lastly, share the thinking and problem-solving. I'll be the first to admit....the 2nd concept of sharing control/decision-making had me shaking my head, I just knew it wasn't going to work. But, apparently, the key is offering only 2 choices (making sure you're ok with either one being chosen) and in 10 seconds flat if they haven't made a choice, make it for them. We tried that...and it worked. Yeah, I know, crazy right? I was brave and tried another tactic...we used the "Uh-oh" song. Yup, the "Uh-oh" song...when he started to misbehave, I would say in a "sing-song" voice "Uh-oh....looks like we need to spend a little quiet time in our room" and took him back to his room and told him quietly and simply "When you're done, you can come out", closed the door and walked down the hall. I stayed close, just to make sure it was all ok. After about 3 minutes or so, he came out, wiped his eyes and said "I ready now". I smiled at him, gave him a hug and kiss and went about our day. The authors say it's important to *not* rehash what happened that caused the "quiet time". Rinse and repeat as necessary. Do you know, after two times, we didn't have any more quiet times yesterday? And, only one today and it was more about being tired and having time to "collect" himself. I was thrilled to pieces by bedtime last night, thrilled!
This morning the boys unwittingly provided me with a chance to combine several things from the book...and IT WORKED! I had errands to do this morning, I gave them a choice-"you can come with me or you can go to Dan and Deb's". They chose to go with me. I told them that was fine but that for this to happen they needed to 1) be nice to each other and 2) listen to me while we were getting ready. Started out good, Landon put his own clothes on, Trace too....they brushed their teeth, and then I offered 2 choices for breakfast. Trace immediately started in about not wanting either choice and then Landon started in, and Trace took off stomping down the hall. He stopped at his door, looked back at me and said something smart-alecky....I just shook my head at him and said in a sad voice, "Wow, this is a bummer dude. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about your behavior right now but, I'll think on it for a while and let you know. Try not to think about it." Can I tell you now that I *love* the phrase "Try not to think about it." ?? LOL...he was immediately asking what are you going to do etc etc. I just shook my head sadly and told him that I wasn't sure yet. "Love and Logic" calls this a delayed consequence. Normally it's used in situations where an immediate consequence isn't feasible or the behavior so out of line you need time to think of something. I used it cuz I didn't know what to do! LOL. Thumbed thru the book and found the perfect consequence. I took them to Dan and Deb's house. Once there, I got the boys in front of Dan and Deb and laid out the following: "Guys, I was really disappointed this morning with your behavior. I need to know that when we're out running errands that you're going to be nice and behave for me. Since you couldn't do that today, Dan and Deb are going to watch you while I run errands. They are going to charge you $1/hr if you're nice to each other and behave. It's $3/hr if you don't behave and be nice. So, how are you going to pay them?" LOL, Trace's eyebrows shot up his forehead and he blurted out "But I don't have any $$" and Landon mimiced him. I said "that's ok, I can pay them for you." of course there was "yay, thanks mom!" and then I added in, "and you can pay me back. For $1/hr you only have to do a few chores for me. But, for $3/hr it's chores, *plus* one favorite book and one favorite toy." They looked concerned and a bit bewildered but said "Ok".
I ran my errands, picked them up to the chorus of "Mom! We were good!! We were good!!" and we went home where they each did a chore for me and went about the afternoon. They're both very tired this evening so it's been a challenge and they've both visited their rooms for "quiet time", but overall, it's been good. I think I'm going to keep doing this.....and try and tweak some things to be specific to them but I have hope!!