Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Update on my Progress: Connection Before Correction

originally posted at Reepicheep's Coracle

After the positive discipline lecture I attended, I decided to try to use Connection Before Correction to put a stop to some power struggles Livy and I had been having. I felt that we were getting caught up in heated arguments, and I decided to stop and reconnect before we tried to solve whatever problem it was. I also had some nifty strategies for reconnecting in that post; please go read them and use them, so that they won't have been an entire waste of my life. Cause I never got to use them. As it turns out, the power struggles were all my fault, and once I had myself in check, we never got as far as any reconnecting strategies.

I'm still very glad that I did my thinking about the reconnecting before problem solving because it did solve our problem. Just not in the way I thought it would. Turns out WE did not need to reconnect; I needed to reconnect and not start power struggles. When I remembered to take a deep breath and think of how much I love Livy and how she is learning and may not be perfect and that her feelings really count, not just mine, we skipped right into solutions with no trouble from MY temper.

Here's a before and after example.

Before -
Me: Livy, please brush your teeth. It is nearly time to go.
Livy: I'm almost finished with the computer.
Me: (thinking, but not saying) Why can't you ever just get ready when I say!! ARRRRGGGHHHH! You are so slow. That damn computer, I wish I could throw it in the trash!!!!
Me: (in a bossy exasperated way) Livy, I said we had to go now. We can't be late. Go brush your teeth.
Livy: (tears) I don't want to go. Why do you always tell me what to do?
Me: (yelling) GET READY NOW!!!!

After -
Me: Livy, please brush your teeth. It is nearly time to go.
Livy: I'm almost finished with the computer.
Me: (thinking, but not saying) It sucks to be interrupted when you are doing something. I can see why she wouldn't want to jump right up like a trained monkey.
Me: (in a calm and empathetic way) I know you don't want to leave your game, but we will be late if I let you play anymore. Can I help you find a way to pause it so you won't have to start over? Would you like to take your Leapster in the car?
Livy: (still not thrilled) Well, okay. I know how to pause it. I'll play it right when we get home.

So much better. And the difference? MY attitude. Livy is very, very independent. ** She likes to do what she wants to do, she likes to run her own life, and I am glad of that quality. But, that also means that she doesn't like it when I do, legitimately, have to tell her what to do. Seriously, who does like that, except Peter Keating? So, when I do have to boss her, I can at least do it with the attitude of being sorry that I have to and hoping to make it as painless as possible for her.

So connection before correction worked for me, just not in the way I thought it would. It was I, not Livy, who needed to connect to what she is probably thinking, feeling, and wanting, and it was I, who needed to show empathy and love instead of impatience.

**Just as an interesting aside, I thought I would post this picture of Livy at about 8 months old. See me way in the background? That's cause even at 8 months, she didn't want any help. I was to stay out of her way and let her do things. (Just so no one has a heart attack, she didn't actually climb that wall at 8 months. But when she did, she didn't want my help!) That's one more example of how we all get who we get. See Jenn's post for more examples of getting who you get.

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