Here’s one lesson I am very confident I have learned…children respond to “play” much better than rules. Or for that matter, anger.
I hate to not feel understood.
So, as you can imagine, as I repeat myself for like the 100th time to do simple tasks…I get downright miffed.
And, as my temperature rises, along with my voice, I see no change in behavior with my kids. Well, maybe Owen, but that’s out of fear…and that is not a way I wish to parent.
Yet somehow…when you make it into a funny phrase, or somehow point out the way in which their behavior is missing the mark…along with giggles, you get – results! I try to employ this approach in regards to our family unit.
We, are Team Pohlkotte.
We huddle up. (I do this for big and small things I really want them to listen too), and the glimmer of expectant excitement with our heads crouched together allows me to get a direct connection to their brains which I don’t get by yelling.
We bench. Some people call these “warnings”… gives them a second out of the activity they are involved in to get their wits about them before they are thrown back into the “game”.
We assign nick-names and codes. Owen knows he doesn’t want to become “that guy”…you know, the one no one thinks is cool and just feels a little sad for. We warn “don’t be that guy...” and he gets it. Ava, well as the kids dive into the world of SpongeBob, she has become “Crabby Patty”. When we feel her gearing up for a fit we cry “crabby patty, order up! Ding!”
We fire people. We all have “jobs” that get assigned us on our team. You are expected to follow through, and if you don’t…you’re sacked.
We cheer. When our players do good work, we are all right there to celebrate the victory. We celebrate success as a family unit.
Now, I have far from perfected this approach. But by even writing this, I am committing myself to further exploration of gentle love. I am not a push-over. And do not believe that this approach is for every situation, or for every season of life. If you are running in the street, or experimenting with drugs, you will not find a mother trying to “relate” to her child.
But while they are young, and while “play” is a direct path to their hearts, I should take it, instead of trying to force my way there, causing both myself and them frustration as we do not get the results we desire.