Montessori Monday~ Parenting Expirments
It is about time for some parenting posts! As I have been cleaning my house, I have also been not spending as much time with my little sweeties. And as any other little sweeties out there, they tend to become a little less sweet when I have less time for them. None of this is new news, but it is something that I need to do. So I found a parenting book by Amy McCready. She is the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions. Deb at Living Montessori Now offered one of her webinare a while back to her readers and it was really good! However, the program is a bit pricey and I didnt want to spend that kind of money. So when an email from her company showed up in my inbox talking about her book, I jumped at it! When I found out my library had it, I was over the moon! If you have been a long time reader you will know that I have used the standard time-out method for years! It was pretty successful and easy to keep up with. But as Bunny has gotten older, I have found that it is not working at all. So it was off to find a new solution. I tried all sorts of things and nothing worked or seemed to be a good fit. So when the webinare came up, I jumped at the chance to get a new idea. I loved everything that Amy had to say and it fit in SO well with all the Montessori methods. So I have been reading all about this positive parenting and I like it. However it is really hard! It is all about what you do. The basis of this is that each child need to have significance (to feel needed and that he can contribute to the family for real) and power (some control over their life). It is also based on the idea that the only person you can control is yourself. We cannot make our kids do anything that they dont want to ( we could I guess, but that seems rather mean to force food down a kids throat or something like that). So that leaves us to change ourselves and to interact with respect for the feeling of our kids in the moment. It all about preparing the home for them to be independent and to empower them to be their best. We do it with words, training, and love. The book has a million wonderful stories and awesome ideas. It seems easy, but then I get the kids involved!
All of this sounds like a beautiful ideal, but in real life it get rather tricky! When your three year old punches your six year old because the six year old yelled at her. Urgh!!!! What do you do? I would usually put both in time out~ one for yelling, one for punching. But I’m not sure how this is supposed to play out. What do I say? How do we resolve this without me screaming at both of them to stop (since they can hear my normal voice)? What about when your six year old runs to her room screaming “I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU!!!!!!” Sigh. I talked to them. I talked about the power of words and how we say them. I talked about how to hitting is not kind and we never do it. I gave consequences “If you scream at someone or use a mean tone of voice, I will not talk to you at all until you are talking kindly.” It worked, or at least it made an impression! Bunny really was not happy with the idea that I would not listen if she screamed. Maybe it will help her find a way to express herself better in the moment! But what do you do for hitting? Or other behavior where there is no good natural consequence? I will keep reading and hopefully find the answers!
This method of parenting is not just about rules and consequences. It is also about how to build a great relationship with your kids as you go. That is what is appealing to me. I want my girls to feel that I am there to listen to all their ideas, thoughts, and problems. The very first step of this program was to spend 10 minutes of time with each child personally. Time for them, doing what they want to, and making sure that it is just you and them. This gives them that sense of significance and also gives them the knowledge that they will have time with you everyday just for them! Right now, we are doing it at bedtime. They pick a story and we talk about their day. They love this time so much!!!! Bunny even started telling me the little secretes in her heart. I realized that this exactly what I need to do for them. When they are teenagers, having time that they know will be just for them with mom will be so important. It will help me make sure that I am a present person for them later too.
All of this is going to help my plan this year for schooling. My goal is to provide a very freedom based, low stress school experience for the girls this year. I got all the materials, I have my plans almost done, but now I need to make sure that my kids have the maturity and peace to do just that! I can plan till every moment in my day is mapped out, but if the kids are not listening, or I start yelling because things aren’t going the way I think that they should, it will all be a waste of time. My school year depends on our ability to work together in love and kindness! Without it, learning becomes a chore and we are all going to be rather miserable!
So those are my rather scattered thought about positive parenting. Do you use positive parenting in your home? What are your thoughts on it? Do you have tips or “trick of the trade” that work in your family? I love to hear your thoughts on this important subject! Be sure to comment with your thoughts! I am linking this up to Montessori Monday at Living Montessori Now so we can get a conversation going! Oh, and let me know what you think of the new blog layout! I would love to hear what my awesome readers think! Happy Parenting!!!!
If you are looking for what we have been up to with Montessori, you can check out these posts!
Our New Materials are Here!
Bunny’s Big Kid Montessori Bedroom
July 31, 2012 @ 1:30 pm
In my work as a Montessori school consultant, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a number of teenagers and young adults who were “Montessori children”. After spending some time with two particularly pleasant and well-adjusted teenagers, I asked their mother (a Montessori teacher herself) what her secret was. She replied: “Well, if you meet their needs when they are young, this is what you get!” Well put – and a good incentive to invest time now to support children’s development needs and nurturing their natural tendencies. It does get easier! Am not familiar with Positive Parenting but sounds as though they are on the right track. As for the hitting: Dr. Montessori said that deviations result from needs not being met. As children become more normalized often such behaviors disappear on their own. Hurting someone is not allowed but I think that’s best left for another post!
July 31, 2012 @ 11:40 pm
What a very good bit of encouragment! It it wonderful to hear stories of well adjusted teens! Here lately the yelling from Bunny makes me wonder how we will ever get through the teen years! My hope is that with some hard work on my part, that the girls will be able to enjoy their teen years in the family instead of hating them like so many other kids I have seen. I really hope the hitting resolves itself. Like you said, once things settle down and the kids have a chance to normalize, I am sure that it will be ok. She doent do it much, but sometimes! Thanks so much for popping by and sharing your thoughts!
July 31, 2012 @ 10:47 pm
I have the books, “Positive Discipline” and “How to talk so your kids listen and listen so your kids will talk” or something similar. They have been very helpful.
I also do the opposite of time out. At school we call it “holding the child close”, at home I just do it. What it means is that a child that is behaving badly is a child that needs some attention. Instead of putting the kids in time out, I keep them close. At school this means that the child brings their work to my table and stays with me until they show me they are ready to return to independence. This could be 10 minutes, it has been three weeks! Follow the child.
At home it means that I keep the child with me. I often hold the child close physically. This breaks down the barrier and allows them to tell me what is upsetting them. This happened today. I took the children out for dinner for a treat. Livi started whingeing and moaning and irritating the other two children. I felt annoyed and was all ready to lay into her and tell her to stop moaning but instead I remembered and offered her a hug. I told her I could hear she was upset about something and she was able to tell me that there was nothing on the children’s menu that she liked. We looked on the proper menu and found something she liked that the pub agreed to halve an adult menu portion and she was happy. We then talked about how she could have told me in a more acceptable way and she managed to stop herself from moaning about her drink and asked nicely instead.
I have a chat with each child every night. I have since they were babies and it is the most important part of the day. It makes all the difference and has definitely changed the course of my children’s lives many times because I have a constant insight into what is going on in their lives.
July 31, 2012 @ 11:47 pm
What a brillant idea! I love the idea of keeping them close. I had heard it once before somewhere and I wondered how you did it. If you are keeping them close, do you talk alot with them or do something special or just keep them near while you are working so they have a chance to talk if they want? I think I may try this since it gives me something to do other then yell or react! :)Thanks so much for the tip!
The positive parenting thing is much the same as the books you mention I believe. I tried reading How to Listen so your kids will talk, but it really was hard for me to get into. I think that this book is much along those same lines.
So far like I said, the talks at night are just wonderful for the girls. Some nights we talk alot, some nights not. But I think that this will be something will continue to do forever! I think that when I read the idea in the book you came to mind. I know that you had mentioned it a while aog when I wrote one of my other parenting posts! 🙂 I will get this worked out someday! 🙂 Thanks for all your help and inspiriation! You are an awesome friend! I hope you guys are doing well and having a great summer!
August 1, 2012 @ 10:26 pm
With the holding close you can do it in a variety of ways, it depends upon the child and the situation. With Livi I tend to hug. I know this can seem like rewarding bad behaviour but it usually lets her relax enough to tell me what the problem is, which we then deal with. I let her know what my expectation is, ie. not hit her brother but tell him what is bothering her in a calm voice. We are still working on this but it is improving. This approach also means that the children learn their responsibilities towards each other. By this I mean, if Liv yells and hits out a Johnny because he is repeating a phrase over and over, which he does, often, then he needs to understand that although she shouldn’t have hit, his behaviour was at the root of it. It requires patience to go back through all the steps but it does stop me from punishing the last behaviour I witnessed rather than understanding where it came from.
I might also ask from help with something I am doing or involve a child in what I am doing – like chopping food up. I might hand over complete responsibility for something in the meal, which always absorbs them and allows for some “sideways” conversations. I feel as if I am constantly manipulating situations to get the best out of them and I don’t always manage. However, the children seem to have cottoned onto the fact that I am trying to react calmly and fairly and they are starting to pre-empt me.
Sometimes holding close is just having them stay with me until they have calmed down. Johnny in particular finds his emotions hard to deal with and sometimes just needs silent support while he fights himself. Once he is in control he often goes and apologises. I rarely ask for an apology. They usually come with understanding of the situation and need no prompting. I hope this helps.
We are having a great summer and a letter is being written!!
August 2, 2012 @ 2:21 am
Thanks for the explaination! I will need to try this. Bunny usually runs to her room, cried for a bit, and then come down ready to talk and apologize. It at least makes me feel hopeful that she can see what she is doing! I am finding that getting to the root of th issue is becoming an issue here as Pup get older! Sometimes she hit her sister, but it turns out that Bunny was taking her stuff and telling her what to do first. You are a fabulous mom! Thanks for sharing your wisdom! If I have more questions, you may get an email! 🙂 Thanks!
August 1, 2012 @ 2:49 pm
My son just turned 7 and has been wonderful but also very challenging. I was introduced to a book called Transforming The Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach by his play therapy group. It is written for children who are more challenging but has WONDRFUL methods that are good for all children. It has completely changed my sons behaviors as well as our interactions. My mother even uses the methods in her Montessori primary class with all of the kids and she has seen great results. The program does not use punishment but instead builds confidence in good behaviors which results in the child not feeling the need to act out. We give so much attention to bad behaviors and this program teaches you to minimze attention to bad behaviors and maximze attention to good ones. It is definately worth purchasing as I do not believe it is in libraries.
August 2, 2012 @ 2:26 am
What a really great thing to remember! We do give so much attention to the negative and trying to talk about the postive is a great idea! The book you have sounds great! I will have see if I can find it! Thank so much for popping by and sharing your thoughts!
August 3, 2012 @ 1:59 am
Great discussion! I found that a combination of logical consequences and lots of communication and mutual respect worked best with my kids. They were wonderful as teenagers, and I’m sure much of it was because they knew my husband and I would listen to them and value their feelings. Here’s a link to my posts on logical consequences: http://livingmontessorinow.com/tag/logical-consequences/. I think Amy McCready’s ideas are wonderful, and I love hearing that you’re starting to have some good results already, Stephanie!
August 3, 2012 @ 2:31 am
Thanks Deb! I think that this may work here too! It will at least help. The girls have seemed a little more calm lately and I hope that this is begining! Thanks so very much for getting me to go to the webinar! It was really helpful in getting me working toward this change!