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― C. S. Lewis


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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Regulation and Comfort part 2

I wrote a post called Regulation and Comfort, yesterday after learning something about our daughters.
There were some GREAT questions from Holly and Autumn and I wanted to answer those the best I could.
I am working this out as I write. :)  But it makes sense for us...
First off, let me say there is no true discipline WITHOUT instruction!  Discipline is to disciple, to come alongside, to instruct, to guide and to lead to truth.
Part of that instruction, guidance and leading, helps a child find SELF discipline where they learn to regulate on their own, make the right choices in their lives and ultimately become whole and productive members of society! :)
What I am suggesting is NOT to take a screaming toddler and give him a piece of candy to make him be quiet. Nor is it to take a 10 year old who just snotted off to his parents and say, "Oh, how about if you go play your play station for a while since you snotted off to me.  NOT! LOL

First, we must observe what is calming to our children. Know them...and what makes them tick! That takes time.  Rocking them? A cartoon? A cool drink?
Reading a favorite book?  Very similar to what is calming to us: Exercise, Starbucks, a movie, a book...and then going for instruction somewhere... the scripture, FRUA, a support group, etc.

In REALITY, YOU are your Child's Support Group!

I have never heard of a support group not being supportive. LOL  (well, just maybe)
I'm talking about a real support group that is face to face.  If somebody fails, the support group ENCOURAGES, GIVES INSTRUCTION, COMES ALONGSIDE......They may have words that cut us to the heart..... "What you did was unacceptable, but I KNOW you can do better! I will be here to help you!"

As I said, this is not devoid of instruction.  "How could you have handled this better?" "What happened? " And then discuss ways to change our reactions to what happened.  This is where the tools come in for the child.  "What tool can YOU use to help you. "Love, kindness, telling the truth"..... as a child learns that they are "loved and accepted", they will make a huge shift and times of turmoil become few and far between.
I would say we are at that place for the most part with the 3 of the girlies and rapidly getting there with number 4. However, she has only been home for 3 months.
To tell her, "I KNOW you want to do what is right", and see her little head affirm with a yes movement brings me joy, as she is dysregulated and hanging onto me for dear life.   She LOVES getting the affirmation that we believe she WANTS to do what is right and is finding her way out of a very dark place.  I believe she can see the light at the end of the tunnel now, and continues to rapidly do better and better.
Here is where some of the types of NATURAL consequences in life work.... If we were in a store, and our daughter wanted a new outfit, and that is not why we went into the store,  and she were to have an attitude (speaking pre teen age here now), I would quietly request that she understand now is not the time, I didn't say never, but attitude needs to change.  If she cannot get it together, we will have to leave and come back later. And then DO it!  This is not a punishment. It is a result of not being fit for public.  I have done this with all of my toddler age children and one time with a pre teen..... As part of the instruction I did let them know that I was sad.  I really needed to get food for our home, and I really needed to finish my shopping and now I can't. And that makes me sad.  I have NEVER had any child say, "I don't care." Typically they will say, "I'll try mommy, I really will! I'm sorry!"  (in the car)

We would THEN have a time of instruction.... what is expected in the store as a reminder, what ways they can help themselves stay regulated in a store, "think about something else besides what you want",  talk about them helping put things in the basket.... etc.  and then go back.  For a little one, they may need to go home and take a nap for a while and then go back. ( I never take a tired toddler into a store)
And the BIGGEST THING.... Do NOT punish a child WITH YOUR OWN BAD ATTITUDE AND DYSREGULATION! Be cheerful... things have moved on... move on yourself!

Take the same situation: Kid dysregulated in a store. It doesn't make sense to me to tell an already upset child: If you don't stop, you will lose your computer for a week. Or if you don't stop no soccer practice.  It seems that unrelated punishments, and removal of priveledges that have nothing to do with the situation, make no sense to the child. They are disconnected. Yes, your child likes soccer and computer, but it seems that to address a problem by withholding something they find comforting or just enjoy, is schizophrenic (disconnected) to the issue.  They are not behaving badly because they have computer or play soccer, there is something much deeper.
I have also seen some who would say, "If you don't stop I am going to ......(fill in the blank)  but they have given no instruction or tools on how to stop.  And the same behavior repeats and repeats and repeats.  Discipline is not equal punishment.  You may get a short term effect.... but in the long term you are still having to punish, punish, punish.

Our goals should be  long term solutions that stick! LOL

Do not EVER ignore a child who would say things that are unkind or rude in a store and just keep shopping.... EVER, even if you have to go without milk.  The child is more important. The discipleship is more important!

I think the store scenario is easy for me to explain because it has to do with public behavior.  And it has to do with action required right away.
I just wanted to make sure you understand I am not advocating screaming toddler in basket= getting a toy to hold so he is quiet. That is not instructive nor is it healthy.

The ULTIMATE goal is to lead our Children to the GREAT Comforter, Jesus Christ. :)  It is to teach them to reach out to HIM and to be changed from the INSIDE out.  Outward conformity without Spititual Renewal will at best be temporary.
But instruction that leads to LIFE, has eternal benefit. :)

When I go to the Lord with my own problems, He is glad to hear from me, he DELIGHTS in His children. He loves for me to pour my heart out to him.... the good the bad and the ugly..... and I receive comfort and instruction.
This is what should be happening with our children.  Comfort and instruction.

I hope that makes things a little more clearer than mud. LOL

(Holly, I used to teach preschool a long time ago, and I LOVED having the "trouble kids" in my class.
They were the ones who didn't fit in for "circle time"..... The best thing I could do for them was when I saw them start to squirm, call their name, "Isn't that right Jarod!"  "Caleb, can you help me find the B?" and let him get up and find it... he was so proud, and then would sit down once again, and then I'd pick a quieter little Suzy... LOL....)  A good friend of mine could chime in on this one. She had a child  in her French class that she had to send to get a drink of water if he was dysregulated.... it wasn't a reward... it worked to calm him and he became a favorite student.)

Ok, I think I just threw up a post. LOL


Autumn said...

Do you know that occasionally when I read your posts, I take notes? ha haaa ha! For real ;)
I think right now, since there are no children in my home, I have a longer thought process to conceptualize these things. I am hoping to keep all of these things in my mind and heart and I bet they will be so much clearer when the kids are actually here!
Keep 'em coming! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I am a young mommy, and you I will be changing a lot the way I am raising my kids. Thank you , especially for this post,you helped me so much to realize so many things! God Bless you and your family. Love your girls :)

Christie M said...

Autumn.... that is funny. :)
It is so different having kids in the home in the moment..... all of a sudden, you are faced with yourself. And it is that way for every single person! God will Guide you. :)

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