Sunday, July 7, 2013

Let's Talk About it

As I mentioned, my son has been very difficult to deal with lately.  Somehow he has become a saucy teenager overnight and it's taken a lot of patience to stay calm and not stoop to his level.  When I hear the tenth, "But Mommy!  I want to do that so I'm just going to do it!" it sounds like nails on the chalkboard.  My husband and I decided to sit him down.

We put my youngest to bed so that we could talk to him without interruptions.  He climbed up the stairs of his bunk bed slowly, knowing what was coming.  He curled up in his red jersey sheets, sighed and said, "I know why you are here to talk to me."  My husband said gently, "Oh yeah?  Why are we here?"  "Because I've been a mean guy to Drew and you and Mommy," he answered.

I clamped my mouth shut to hear where my husband would go with this.  "You have said mean things, but you are not a mean guy.  We love you very much.  Can you tell us what makes you say the mean things?" my husband asked.

"Well, when Drew takes my stuff over and over again I don't like it and I just want him to go away," he explained.  

"That makes sense.  Is what you are doing working?" he asked.  Great question, I thought.  Way to get him thinking!

"No, I just get in trouble," our son said in a defeated voice.

"That's true," my husband said as he reached over for his hands.  "So what might get you what you need without getting you in trouble?" he asked my son, further helping him to problem solve.

"Maybe I could ask you for help!" he said with bright eyes filled with hope.

"That's a great idea.  We will always help, won't we, Mommy?" my husband said to me.

"Of course we will.  Always," I assured him.

We continued on to the problem of his back talking and decided that he would go and do something calming (color, play trains) then come back after a few minutes.  During that time he wanted to think of a better way to say what he needed.  We plan on saying, "Sounds like you need to calm down a bit.  Come back when you have a nicer way to say that."  We're hoping we can make some progress.

So often I have taken on the disciplining role.  I have honestly felt very controlling about it.  My husband is always helpful with the planning but then I take care of talking to our sons.  How wrong I was.  It was so refreshing to watch how he handled the interaction with our son.  He led him through a series of questions that made our son responsible for fixing his own response rather than saying, "when you are a jerk, you will have this horrible punishment."  While I think solid consequences are a necessary part of parenting, I also think that kids need to see that their choices affect their chances of getting what they want.  How else will they thrive when they think no one is watching?

Do you involve your spouse in behavior conversations with your children?  How does it change the dynamic?

1 comment:

  1. I do almost all the disciplining in our household. My husband backs me up if I need to though :)


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