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In this life we can not always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.." :) Mother Teresa

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“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis


I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Regulation and Comfort

Mike wanted me to post about some ideas we were discussing the other day.  Many times when we are working with one of the girlies on things, or if we stumble onto something neat, we share it with each other and discuss it.....
I haven't been able to put it into words the last few days because of other worries on my heart, like Ilse, and Tim, and bad memories of long ago. :(

But today, good news! Ilse may be coming home on Sunday! Her pain is under control and she is tolerating her feeds. YEA!
So now, I think I can remember how to write this. :)

Several Days ago, 2 of the girls were having a spat. Most of the time, it is a problem with communication.  Alli, many times misunderstands things. She takes something wrong, or she says something that doesn't quite come out right.....
This happened in the morning, and as she and I were talking about it, it dawned on me that she needed something to help her cool down AND get her mind off of her hurt feelings.   So, after we talked, and I went through a really good teaching moment about respecting each other, especially mommy.... :)   I then told her, "You know what? I think it would be good if you took your computer time now. You like it, and it will help you to calm yourself a little more. "  She was already mournful for what had happened, but she tends to dwell on her failures.... I felt that the computer time was a good icebreaker to move into the rest of the day.
She looked at me surprised. "I still get to have my computer time?"  She thought I might take it away!
I told her, "Why would I take something away that helps you?"  And off she went to the computer.

When I was telling Mike about our successes, he said, "You know.... that is interesting because many times as parents, we tend to look for something to remove or take away, and it may be the very thing our children NEED to HELP them regulate.
It is amazing how ingrained the idea of taking away things to make a point, or punish, is in all of us.

I know that as an adult, when I start to feel dysregulated, I too go for comforts to calm me. I will pray, read, get on the computer, watch a dvd...... interesting..... if it is ok for me, why not them?
I have also heard people say to others who are dysregulated that they should comfort themselves with chocolate, shopping, a massage, take yourself out to dinner, etc...... Folks, these seem like REWARDS to me.
Why do we reward ourselves with something special when we are dysregulated, but for our kids, we tend to punish?
So, just sharing, that  it might be good to rethink that.
The very tool our child may need, whatever it may be.... art supplies, jumping on a trampoline, dress up, roller skating, watching a dvd, listening to music,  working on the computer may very well be the tool they need in their toolbox to regulate. :)

you can read part 2 here.


Diana said...

Great post! Ok, I confess to self medicating with chocolate on occasion. That one isn't a reward to me. It's actually a two edge sword. Very calming, especially if a suck on it until it is fully melted. However, it also spikes my blood sugar and makes me feel even worse. So, it's only an "in case this is a BIG emergency!" Thankfully, even though I still like it, the intense craving for it went almost entirely away after I had my hysterectomy last fall. The rest you mentioned...yah, they seem like rewards to me. I do wish I had a suitable tub for taking a bubble bath, but until that day comes, I do stuff like you mentioned...blogging, facebook (yes, I'm currently regulating before I rejoin my family for movie time :-), and time out.

Autumn said...

Ok here's another question :) I totally agree, and hope that I can pass on the toolbox thing to my children. My question is...I think its great to give them tools to regulate themselves, but do you think there will ever be a point where the child learns that he/she can act however they want anyways, because they will still get the things they like/rewards? Would there be a point if, the behavior was repetitive and not improving, that we would consider taking things away?
Was it ok to do that with your girlie because she was feeling bad about what had happened, and not just being a brat? Like - there's a difference between reacting some way because of old issues and just being spoiled, right?
Ooh, I don't know why it is difficult for me to conceptualize some things. I'm such a visual/hands-on learner. Maybe you should set up a video camera in your house so you can just tell me to refer to the video for a visual ;) j/k
Thanks again for your posts!!

Holly said...

That makes a huge amount of sense, and I agree with you, it's surprising that more people don't see that sometimes the thing the knee-jerk reaction is to "take away", is actually the same thing that could be a helpful distraction. man, that sentence was long, I hope it made sense!

Ok you've got me wondering whether this same idea would be effective in a classroom with disruptive children...? I think it might be, so long as it didn't turn into inadvertently rewarded unwanted behaviour. :)

Christie M said...

I think there could be a danger of rewarding somebody, IF, the instruction was not there. I would think repetitive behavior that continued again and again, (without remorse) would be a different scenario....
The FULL PICTURE would be:
Child wants to obey. This is the case in our home.They REALLY DO.They REALLY care, each of them.
They fail, just like I do.
For me, and I say FOR ME, because I know many who use reward/punishment successfully....Reward/punishment doesn't make a lot of sense.
For instance....
Ok, I feel Part 2 coming on.....

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