I think it is quite funny how after a parenting class I assume I will get it right and my children will comply like angels. Our house will have warm glow from the street, as we have 4 children with little halos over their head. Michael and I would be perfectly calm all knowing parents. And our children will respond as we expect, using the new found Value Based techniques we have learned. And then the moment things don’t go as the “should” I wonder what we are doing wrong, or what is wrong with our kids. We used the perfect technique and yet they are not doing what I think they should do. So I react with my former technique (previous to value based parenting) with the what are you thinking, don’t argue about this, it is ridiculous, this it how it is and you know it, and your grounded for life, lock and key, never allowed to leave your room. Ok so the latter isn’t something I usually say out loud. Anyway we it may take a day or two before I throw my hands in the air and try what Dean says again. Which is to go into a conversation seeking to understand and not drive home my agenda, even though I know I am right. Ha ha
So the other day I had a chat with my daughter. She had been having what I like to call “melt down moments”, this usually involved rolling of the eyes smoke coming from the ears and the phrases, “it’s not my fault, and you are ruining my life” I usually get aggravated and try to prove to her that she had a part to play in the problem and try to convince her that her attitude is way out of line. Which usually leads to the phrase, “no it’s not, and it’s all their fault. I am sure you can just imagine how the conversation continues to down spiral from here. So, as I was saying, the other day I let go of all my agenda, I let go of the points I wanted to prove, and I simply decided to put the ball in her court. The conversation went like this.
“So Kate, remember wen you were yelling at me the other night insisting I didn’t know what happens” Yes, she replies. Well how do you feel about that conversation? Not good, she answered. What else to you feel? Please be honest, don’t jus try to come up with what answer you think I am looking for, tell me what you feel. And she said,” I don’t like it when you yell at me.” I responded “ oh, I can understand that, I do need to work on that.” Why did you insist on arguing with me?” She said “cause I want to be right.” Do you think you were right? She said “not really, when I was arguing I thought there might be a 1 percent chance I was right, but I knew you probably were, but I didn’t’ want to be wrong.” I thanked her for her honesty and her if she would like to here why I made the statement I made. From here on the conversation went well, I could tell by her facial responses that she understood where I was coming from and agreed with the problem at hand. She walked away with a smile on here face and there was no tension between us.
I just had to laugh. I thought to myself, why am I always so surprised when I am truly not agenda driven, the principals actually do work. Some times it takes a little time, but if I stay at peace and leave my “gotta raise perfect kids” attitude out, we make a lot more progress. I went into that conversation, NOT trying to prove my point but to truley desired to understand what she was thinking and feeling, and wanted her to know where I was coming from too. And thing went sooooo much better. I know there were times I went into the conversation, asking the questions, looking like I was trying to understand them. It sometimes even “looked” like a perfect little value based technique for a moment, however the energy behind it was to prove my point and make my kid behave, and the energy is what the kids pick up on.