Sunday, October 28, 2012

Setting the Bar

I was traveling for business last week, and while I was gone I got a lot of reading done. Reread Adopting the Hurt Child by Gregory Keck and Beyond Logic, Consequences and Control which, judging by the footnotes, was written directly in response to Keck, and both of them read like Manuals for Parents who are Fragile, Controlling, Needy Dips. BLCC walks the reader through an example of a mother who says that conversations with her daughter like this one had taken all the joy out of parenting:
Mother: So, how was your first day back at school?
Daughter: Fine
Mother (teeth on edge, tries again): On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you say it was?
Daughter: It was a B+
Mother: Why are you always so stubborn?
But now, by using the techniques taught in the book, that mother has learned to get the hell over herself already.

The parenting book that hands down I liked best was How to Talk so Your Kids Will Listen & Listen so Your Kids Will Talk, which basically I read as "your kids are not automatons who have to be happy all the time or suppress their disappointment and anger and frustrations. Set boundaries about the way you expect them - and everybody - to treat you, teach them to set boundaries by respecting them, teach them to solve problems for themselves by backing off and leaving them to work things out on their own, help them use creative and physical outlets to work out their big feelings, and acknowledge and validate their small ones." There are techniques for doing this, like "describe what you see" and "grant wishes in fantasy," but basically the book is about offering kids a little respect.

I plan on re-reading How to Listen very soon, because unfortunately, while I was reading it the first time, I was switching between it and Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and I think I may have gotten the two of them mixed up a little, like: if your child says "I want to overthrow Bavaria," you can avoid a tantrum by granting the wish in fantasy - and the bigger the better!
Kid (pouting): I want to take over Bavaria!
Parent: What would you do with Bavaria?
Kid: I'd use it as a stepping stone to dismantle the Weimar Republic.
Parent: Wow, if you had control of the Weimar Republic, you could use that to dissolve the Federalist system in Germany!
Kid: I could! I could unite all of Germany!
Parent: Wow! All of Germany!
Kid: I could take over Austria!
Parent: And the Sudetenland!
Kid: And the rest of Czechoslovakia!
Parent: And Poland!
Kid: And Russia!
Parent: Today, Bavaria, tomorrow the world!
Kid: Thanks, Dad. I guess I don't need to take over Bavaria, I'm just going to go play with my stormtroopers for four years.
Parenting! I haz it!

1 comment:

  1. I love the How to Talk books. We did end up using 1-2-3 Magic because our previous foster children's parents were supposedly using it in their parenting classes, and it does indeed work with the early grade set, but I prefer How to Talk/Listen as a philosophy.

    (It's fun to be reading you again!)