Parenting Transformation Journey – page 7
(Click here for page 1)
My daughter was finally calm, and finally decided to come out of her room. She spent some time outside with her sister and seemed to be recovering. Her sister came to me and asked if the two of them could have a mint candy. I said, “You can, but she can’t…”
“Oh, she wasn’t sure if a mint candy counted as a treat.”
“Yeah, it does. I sure wish she comes to talk to me soon, because I really want her to get her 24 hours over with. Will you be sure to let her know that I hope to talk to her soon?”
Pretty soon, they both came to me, the one who didn’t want to talk lagging behind, covered in a blanket, and being led by her little sister.
She found her way to my bed where I was working and sat down, letting her face peek out, barely.
I praised her for coming. “I know this was hard to do – I want you to know that I recognize that. I’m proud of you for doing something hard.”
“I didn’t want to talk to you because I knew it would just make me madder.”
“I understand, but I really want this to be over with and there’s just a few things you need to do to begin. And I need to be able to see you.”
She dropped the blanket off of her head and asked (calmly enough, considering), “What do I have to do?”
“I know that hearing me talk too much could make you feel more angry, so I’m going to keep it short, okay? You need to do your two chores, and go through the SODAS with me, calmly, to begin the 24 hours.”
“What are the SODAS?”
“It’s just a list of questions that I’ll ask you, about nine of them. You can see the list of questions on the wall in the dining room so you’ll know what to expect. So go do the two jobs and come back when you’re ready to answer the questions. Oh – wait, you already did the first job, didn’t you?”
“I thought you already cleared the table.”
“No, I started, but didn’t finish.”
She left and returned shortly after. I praised her for doing the jobs, and told her how proud I was of her. She was working really hard to stay composed. I knew she was still mad at me, but she was definitely demonstrating self-control in spite of it. I said, “Are you ready to answer the questions?”
So I went through the questions and helped her come up with answers. We talked about what happened, what her options are when that sort of thing happens, what the disadvantages and advantages are to each option, and which choice she would make in the future.
Whenever I asked a question and she didn’t know what to say, I gave her suggestions. I know this is a new process for her. I had no problem helping her identify the positives and negatives. She was already under stress, and expecting her to think too deeply while under stress could be counterproductive, so I made it super quick and easy for her. As we all learn the steps better, this exercise will become a writing assignment, especially for the older children.
This is what we came up with:
I got mad when you said I couldn’t make brownies
(She had also been mad at her sister, but she was confident that she had only lost control when, after reporting her sister, she had asked if she could make brownies and I had said ‘No’.)
- storm off
- go to room and calm down
- leave somewhere else
1) a. It doesn’t help me calm down
b. I’m not happy
c. I get negative consequences
2) a. I miss out on being with my family
b. I have to be alone
c. I feel angry for a while
3) a. I feel angry for a while
b. I don’t have my bed to be comfortable on
c. I don’t have my bouncy ball
1) a. I can feel like I’m heard
b. I get away from Mom who’s making me mad
c. I get to express my anger
2) a. I get to leave the situation
b. I can feel less angry
c. I get to avoid consequences
3) a. I get to leave the situation
b. I can feel less angry
c. I get to avoid consequences
Solution (her choice for next time)
Go to my room before it gets out of hand.
When the SODAS was over, I praised her and said, “It looks like you may be ready to begin your 24 hours.”
With that, she slumped down and cried, “But I don’t even want the 24 hours!”
That’s when it dawned on me, she was hoping that I would let her out of that part if she decided to finally go back and do the other parts. I’m realizing how much repetition will be required to make sure the steps are absolutely clear, and that I completely follow through.
This is teaching me how I have trained her thus far – I’ve taught her (by my inconsistency in the past) that the consequences are always negotiable. I have often changed my mind on consequences for one reason or another. But these new consequences are so simple, so easy to remember, and the same every time, so it will be a lot easier to carry them out. Predictability, simplicity, and best of all, calm implementation.
She finally pulled herself together. While she was calm, I said, “I know that this is hard for you, and you are doing a great job. But I also know that it might be hard to stay this way. Because I want you to get the 24 hours over with as soon as possible, I’m willing to begin the clock right now, and you can go where ever you need to be to feel calm.” (In other words, I wasn’t going to require that she listen to any more explanations.)
Some of the other kids had misunderstood what was going on, and since she had spent so much time in her room, they assumed that the consequence was going to be 24 hours in her room. I said no – she doesn’t have to be in her room for 24 hours! She can be wherever she wants to be – she just can’t have treats, snacks, friends, computer, or television. So my youngest ran upstairs to tell her, “You don’t have to have the 24 hours!”
Oh dear. That needed to get cleared up in a hurry – I didn’t want her thinking that I had actually changed my mind. So I wrote it out on a paper, exactly what this means, and made sure she had a copy.
Let the 24 hours begin! (4:30 pm PT)
This is sort of turning out like a reality show, since I’m sharing the process real-time. Knowing that I’ll be reporting back after each incident (as much as I can) is keeping me on track. 🙂
If you disagree with anything I’m doing, then before leaving your comments, all I ask is that you please first watch this BBC episode so you can see where this is going. They say that in the middle of a life-saving surgery it can appear as though there has been a murder in the room. It might get a little messy in the middle, but I do believe and trust in the end result. Each of my posts – standing alone – will not provide the big picture… but the episode does. Enjoy!