Monday, March 12, 2012

Creating my new life

As January came around this year, I decided on my 2012 purpose:  Create the life you want!  I came to realize that there were so many things I wanted to do with my life- things I want to start, things I want to change, things I want to eliminate.  I decided that this year I was going to set about doing those things!  Imaging the life I want and creating it- making it happen. 

First on the list was changing the emotional climate of our house.  At any given moment, our life felt like chaos and highly charged emotions- yelling, crying, frustration, you name it.  All 5 of us were guilty.  It could be anything from putting the wrong color of cup on the table to fighting with siblings.  There was near constant stress in our house, and I wanted to change it.  I wanted calm, peaceful days (beginning with me), and thanks to a friend, I have found something that is working!

I bought the book "A house united- teaching self-government" by Nicholeen Peck.  I spent a week reading it cover to cover, and I knew it was exactly what I was looking for.  She spends 75% of the book talking about communication, praise, and showing love to your family.  Before anything else, start with the positive!  She maintains that children need to learn four basic skills-
  1. Following Instructions
  2. Accept a "no" Answer
  3. Accept a Consequence
  4. Disagree Appropriately
When I read those skills, I swear the earth shook.  I felt like they could barely do any of those skills.  If they could learn them, it would absoulutely change our entire home.  So I put the plan into place.  We explained it to the kids, made it very clear what was expected and what would happen if expectations were not met.  There was a lot of initial teaching, but they caught on really, really quick!

And, by far, the biggest benefit has been for my own emotional stability!  I have a plan of exactly what I will do in each situation.  I know what to give consequenses for and what consequence I will give.  I have a script in my head of exactly what I will say and exactly what I will do.  There is no emotion or frustration or anger like there used to be.  We have been going strong for 3 weeks now, and it is incredible how much it has helped.

If I say no to something, they (out of long established habit), start to scream.  I say to them "it sounds like you want to disagree", and they immediately calm down (they aren't allowed to disagree until they are calm), and then they say "Mom, may I disagree appropriately?"  (and it is pretty cute to hear them lisp the word appropriately!)  I say "yes", and then they say something like "I know you said I can't watch tv, but I really want to watch it".  I then give them a decision and they are expected to accept the decision and drop the subject.  Each basic skill has certain exact steps to follow, and if they don't they earn a consequence. 

There is still a long way to go, but I can see such a huge difference in our family!  It is a huge blessing to us to have found this book!  Creating a loving, kind, peaceful home was #1 on my list of creating the life I want!


Valeni said...

Thanks for sharing this. Hope everything goes well with this plan.

Cecilee said...

Sounds great! Hope it is going well. Good for you to make a plan and follow through to get the life you want!