I’ve just finished reading Parent Talk by Chick Moorman. It is where I got the idea to do the positive visualization with WC. Now that I’ve read it cover to cover and digested some of its contents I think that I am ready to post some of my opinions on what I have read and used from the book.
In the simplest view of the book, it gives stock phrases to use in certain situations. In the beginning Mr. Moorman suggests writing some of them down on index cards for reference. I don’t know about anyone else, but it doesn’t seem practical to me that in the moment you have to stop and consult an index card on the right thing to say in the situation. But, after reading through the whole thing and using some of it and letting it sink in- to stop and have to think about something rather than reacting negatively may not be such a bad thing. Some of us get into unhealthy patterns that we learned in childhood from the way parents dealt with us. While philosophically we don’t agree- sometimes the automatic action prevails in spite.
The point of the book is to become conscious of what you say and how you react to and interpret what your children do. Until the positive responses are the automatic ones.
Mr. Moorman makes a point that we should understand normal childhood development and view your child’s behavior in that context. And in doing so, we really do not have to have the patience of a saint to be good parents.
The book begins with the suggestion that we should use the words: decide, pick and choose a lot with our kids. Because it will be language that they will grow to understand that they are responsible for their behavior and likewise the consequences. For example: If you decide to hit your brother then you choose to sit in time out. Or. Your brother needs to study. You can choose to play in here quietly or in your room. Which I have used numerous times. And I usually have to remind him, If you choose to disrupt your brothers homework then you decide to go back to your room. And oddly enough this ends with him cooperating or he’ll decide to go back to his room on his own.
Now the one thing that I had to laugh at is “please make another choice”. You tell the child what the inappropriate behavior they are engaged in and then tell them to “please make another choice.” Because I’m going to be chasing them around the house constantly saying, “Please make another choice.” Then they’ll go climb another wall. I tried this one a couple of times but haven’t worked it in to a regular rotation. I may try it again in the near future.
The simplest thing that he suggested and I couldn’t believe this would work is. Limit use of “No.” Everyone knows that toddlers are experts in this word. Most of them say the word while they doing something they aren’t supposed to. The author made the point that once you respond with No, the other party stops listening and begins to form their rebuttal in their head. For example: “Can we go outside.” Response: “No- not until after the toys are picked up.” The problem is that the kid quit listening after the “No” and never even heard the part about the toys. It couldn’t be that simple- could it? I got the opportunity to try this one on Valentine’s Day. The boys had gotten a heart shaped box of six chocolates. At five thirty they asked if they could eat one. I didn’t want them to until after they’d eaten dinner. So I said, “Yes- after you eat dinner.” You know what happened. They said Okay and put the boxes on the table and ran off to play. If only everything could be that simple.
There is much more to the book and I'll post some more stories of trying these out and the results.