Sunday, December 18, 2011

Time-Ins and Disney as a Teaching Tool

Sorry for this completely random post in the middle of Christmas.

So, after reading THIS ARTICLE on Simple Mom less than a week after I not-so-proudly told y'all about my running away to the front porch while Bree was freaking out for the hundredth time in a day, I decided it was time to try something new. It's called a time-in...have you heard of that? It's literally the opposite of what I want to do when my kids are being jerks, so like so many things that are difficult in parenting, it has turned out to be exactly the right thing for us. Due to the relatively small sample size of this experiment, I can't guarantee a time-in's efficacy on children over the age of 6.5, and believe me, I have LEARNED that it's pointless to try and tell others how things work with a kid who is as much as ten minutes older than your own. Pretty much anyone with kid experience or a parent with a child over maybe 9 or 10 months will testify to that. Anyway, here's how it worked (for us, this week):

Situation: Kid is being a jerk. Crying, refusing to cooperate, throwing stuff, stomping around. This usually occurs when dinner is on the stove and about to burn, you the parent are in the shower, or you're about to be running late for somewhere really important (like,

What I Want To Do: start yelling and removing privileges. Basically meet the child on his or her level of jerkiness. Obviously this is not the acceptable choice, and it's a little embarrassing to realize that by yelling and freaking out, there's essentially no difference in the grownup's behavior and the child's. Way to set an example, Mom! Yikes.

Result: further distance and stress. Kiddo figures out that the parent's convenience is more important than their own feelings. Again...yikes.

What A Time-In Does: stop talking (or...ahem, yelling up the stairs). Go find child - very easy due to the fact that they are likely making lots of unhappy noises. Hug child - very difficult because unless your house is significantly larger than mine (admittedly not unlikely) you've probably not had enough time to get un-annoyed yet. Sit down and let child sit with/on/near you. Take really deep breaths and keep saying "it's okay" over and over.

Result: You will feel, absolutely, like a rockstar parent. Truly. It's sort of like running a marathon (or how I'd imagine running a marathon would be because you know MY fat butt is not doing that craziness any time soon). But more importantly, your kid is calm again and he or she can trust that you aren't going to bail at the first sign of distress. As a mom of girls, I like to think this is very, very important for later.

Likely Additional Result: If you're like me, it's possible that you're still REALLY annoyed. You're late for whatever, frustrated and just worn the heck out. I don't have a solution for this that doesn't involve online shopping, stress eating, or pacing around the yard ripping weeds out, but I promise I'll share one if I come up with it. =)

Okay, moving on.

Carly has reached the stage (PLEASE let it be a stage...) where pretty much anything I ask her to do is met with a big sigh and an ugly face like I've just put her out. This includes going outside to play, which she loves. So, enter Wall-E. She wanted to know why all the people on the space ship couldn't walk and they were all squishy and I told her that's what happens if you don't exercise. You're muscles atrophy (whoop for vocabulary development!) and you lose the ability to do awesome things. *big eyes*  So...guess who is outside right this very minute doing somersaults and jumping jacks in the grass? That's RIGHT! I'm sure this is messing her up in an entirely different way, but I figure it's alright because the focus is on what her body can do, not what it looks like. =)


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