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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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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Not Letting The Little Things Go.....

Many times when I try to explain our parenting style, or BCLC or Karyn Purvis's ideas, it seems like people think we allow misbehavior to reign and do nothing about it.

This could not be further from the truth!

Not only, do we do something about it.... We do it RIGHT AWAY!  We NEVER, EVER allow for a second to go by, if somebody has "snotted off" or been disrespectful.  It is addressed immediately with a simple statement.
"That is NOT ok!"   And even a.. "That is NEVER ok!"  Or a "Since when is THAT ok?"  Or a "Has that EVER been OK?"   or a "You may Not!"
Now, we may need to take time after that statement to allow for a child to cool down, or regroup or even for ourselves to strategically think of a plan of action, but we ALWAYS ALWAYS address it, FIRST with an immediate statement, and THEN with follow up at the RIGHT TIME.

When things are calm and our children are back into a "thinking mode", it is THEN that we discuss the issue of WHY something is not ok.   In the moment, you may as well be saying "blah blah blah" if you try to talk to them,  because they will not be able to understand clearly or think clearly.
 But once they have calmed,  you can lovingly talk with them about the whys and IMPORTANTLY about WHAT TO DO DIFFERENTLY.   The WHAT TO DO DIFFERENTLY is JUST as important as the talk about why something they did was wrong!  It gives them the TOOLS to do something different!

It may take  months or in some cases years for some children to understand and respond under pressure without going back to old habits.   That is when we tell ourselves that we are progressing and moving forward, a little at a time, but progress is progress!!!!

If IN THE MOMENT of the behavior we SPEAK a TRUTH as simple as "THAT IS NOT OK"....
it will be imprinted with that behavior.  Even if the child is not thinking clearly, they will still get a SHORT, CLEAR message.  They may not respond to it right away, but they will catalogue it.
If we are consistent, and every time we repeat a simple phrase, and THEN follow up with loving discussion and acceptance, things will begin to change.

Learning how to fit into a family, learning  what behaviors are ok and not ok,  and understanding how to communicate feelings are HUGE issues for an adopted child.
How we communicate that and our consistency of communication  is VERY important! 

As parents, we do not have the liberty to be lazy.
If your child throws a pencil across the room or rudely grabs something from you, to simply ask them to do it again correctly in a calm manner, is teaching them those little subtleties of communication are not acceptable.  "If you are angry or frustrated, you can SAY, 'Mom, I'm so frustrated!' But throwing your pencil across the room is not an option."

We do not permit stomping down a hall and slamming a door.  Now I SAY that, and it is true. Does that mean Miss Alli has never done that?  No.  It means that if she has, we ask her to do it over again.
Walk nicely down the hall, and close your door quietly.  This has REALLY helped her to begin to express herself with words instead of the more primitive body language she was used to. And it has greatly helped her to learn self control.

Now, we are working on improving in areas that we couldn't even touch last year.  We are working on those rough edges of tone and body language.  I especially think this is hard for kids who come from Eastern Europe.  The language is very halting in tone.  I remember thinking the entire time we were in Ukraine that everybody who spoke was mad.  It wasn't true.   It is just the way the language sounds.   So it is doubly hard for our kids to learn English AND tone of voice. 

With Miss Alli, and even  with Erika when she was first home, we had to really work on which words to use that were kind and communicated what we were really trying to say. 

"I WILL NOT DO THAT" does not mean the same thing as "Mom, I don't want to do that".  I had to be VERY CAUTIOUS that I didn't characterize them as being rebellious by saying the first, when they actually meant in their hearts, the second.  One is ok to say, the other isn't.  The best way to solve those little issues, is to repeat 2 ways of saying it.  "Are you saying "I will not! As in I refuse!" Or are you saying, "I don't want to."  99 if not 100 percent of the time, they realized that they needed to change how they said something.

The good thing is she is so very willing. She may not like it, in the moment, but she KNOWS it is for her good and that we are not just picking on her. :)   If I do need to talk to her ESPECIALLY about tone and how things are worded, I always offer to use the video camera so she can see and hear it.
It has worked for her, but OH she doesn't like what she sees, so now we are at a point of  her just trusting that what I told her is the case. :)

We have mostly gotten past the HUGE things that Miss Alli came with.  She knows we love her. She is secure in our love and knows we are not going to send her away.  
Honestly, I am surprised at how quickly she responded. We didn't expect to see real change for a couple of years but she has responded since day one.   This little girl has worked SO HARD and been through SO MUCH!   I do believe she was meant to be with us.  And I do believe she had come to the end of her rope when we got her.
There was nowhere to go but up.


Emily Minich said...

Geat post!

Annie said...

I've been working on this, because fairly suddenly one of my sweetest children has started being rude. My problem has been that my commenting on it (i.e. "That sounded very disrespectful; could you say that again?") so often inspires an even worse comment on his part. And, sometimes this occurs even when I really don't have any understanding why he'd be dysregulated. I think he may be angry about some things involving his sister, but that still doesn't seem reason enough to be nasty to me. Lately, I think he's struggling with it because he is alternating rudeness with trying to be very good, and very affectionate. I can't afford therapy for another one! I hope this passes!

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