This week, I'm going to focus on the One Word card from my Positive Discipline Tool Cards deck. (Yes, the card in the picture is "Jobs" but that's the only picture I have at the moment!)
This is a skill I really need to improve, since I have a tendency to over-explain everything--what I'm thinking, what I want, what I'm feeling--in a repetitive way that I'm certain is annoying to my kids (my husband loves it though, ha ha). Not only does it get on people's nerves, my wordiness can be ineffective.
Here's the idea:
"Avoid lecturing and nagging. Use one word as a kind reminder. . . . When agreements are made together in advance, one word is often all that needs to be said."
"Lecturing and nagging." Oh all right. Guilty as Charged.
I think part of the reason I talk and talk and talk and over-explain myself when I'm all heated up about something is because it's a stress reliever for me. When I read the book The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine Aron, I was interested to learn that this powerful need to talk through feelings is a characteristic of highly sensitive people (sensitive in this sense doesn't mean being touchy or tender feelings--it refers to the quality of being highly observant and affected by external surroundings). I am a highly sensitive type. So is Ryan. So we talk--it's what we do.
But Morgan is not. And she is the kid I've been having the most trouble communicating with lately. We both get upset with each other, and then I talk and talk and talk AT her, because it's my way and it relieves my feelings. But all of that talking bothers her and overstimulates her and is a really ineffective way to communicate with her.
She'd much prefer that I get to the point already, I think. And isn't it kind of insulting to have something that you already know explained to you in a lengthy repetitive way? Yeah. It is. She doesn't need to know WHY most times--all she needs is a reminder.
And think of the time I can save myself! One Word instead of a paragraph! :o) So I think this One Word exercise will be a good one for both of us.
Also--Sean! Sean is in the process of picking up words. He's integrating concepts like crazy (it's so neat to watch a child's mind develop!!!!). We use sign language with him, which shows him a non-verbal way to communicate his needs and desires to us, even when he can't make his mouth and tongue pronounce the words he knows. But we of course, talk to him all the time. I talk to him just like I speak to everyone else--in complete sentences. But if I notice that he is interested in a particular something, then I take the time to get his attention, point, and then say the word for him very clearly. So I'm doing One Word with him already--in a different context.
In terms of discipline, I think the One Word strategy will be a logical application of how I'm helping him name objects. Because he doesn't need me to give him an in-depth encyclopedic explanation. He just needs a word (and help with an action, such as spitting out the LEGO or giving back the remote control).
And honestly, Ryan could probably do with a lot fewer words from me, too. :o)
Here are some examples from the card about how to apply this strategy:
- If you see a wet towel on the floor that needs picking up, say "Towel."
- If the dog needs food, say "Dog."
Hmmm....what are some situations around here that call for One Words?
- "Hands." For situations where a person needs to keep his hands to himself. I have actually said this in the past with some measure of success.
- "DVD." For when a DVD is left on the floor or being scraped across a hard surface or being licked. (Yes, licked.)
- "Plate." As a reminder to take your plate to the sink after eating.
- "Bathroom Door!" Technically, it's two words, but I think it's in the spirit of the exercise. This is a reminder to all that we need to keep our downstairs bathroom door closed, because Sean is just way too fascinated with the potty. Ew.
So we'll try it this week and I'll let you know how we're doing.