If there’s anything I’ve learned–it’s that you/we cannot problem solve during our “flipped lid state”. My family and I have been reminded that when we are in our “reptilian brain” there’s no rational thinking taking place. I’ve been role modeling this for my children by demonstrating that I need to cool off and take my “time out.” I need to calm down, which gives them time too. It’s after this cooling down time that we are able problem solve, find solutions, brainstorm ideas, and role-play.
Yesterday I received a last minute invitation from a brave neighbor and super-dad to take both my boys for an evening play-date. My first instinct, of course, was to say, “Absolutely yes!” But then I started feeling hesitant about how they might behave. My youngest son’s favorite word is “stupid” (that’s a whole other story). Coincidently he seemed to being saying it extra that day. Also, they seemed to be fighting more than usual; and not listening (obeying) even more than usual that day.
Anyway, instead of denying them (and me) their play-date, I decided to have a mini family meeting and a few role-plays about their behavior and my expectations for them. It was so cute to have my older 5-year-old son take the lead on the role-plays and the several different problem-solving ideas he had for the evening.
For instance, I asked them, “What will you do if your friend doesn’t want to share his toy that he’s playing with?” Greyson replies, “If he doesn’t want to share, I’ll ask him which toys I can play with?” Greyson went on to say, “Or I’ll ask him when will it be my turn?”
I then proceeded to ask, “What will happen if Reid says, “Stupid?” Greyson said, “I’ll whisper in his ear and remind him we use the word silly instead.”
We then role-played the dinner scenario and practiced our manners. I was beginning to wonder if I had gone a little overboard with all the “talking” and role-playing?
After everything was said and done, my neighbor said they had a great night and were very well behaved. I was proud, relieved, and once again excited to see another Positive Discipline tool working at its best.
This week’s tool card was yet another reminder that our children—even as young as 3-years and 5-years-old—are wonderful problem solvers. For the most part they had better problem solving solutions and strategy’s than I would have thought of in a lecture. Note to self—don’t underestimate the minds and creativity of our children. They’re better at solving their problems than we are. And they’ll also follow through when it is their ideas.