Saturday, March 5, 2011

I don't want a bummer!

In our world of chaos, we are always looking for new techniques to help "encourage" our little guys to see things our way.

Because E. is now in Special Ed at school- we were invited recently to a Love & Logic Introductory class.  A lot of what we heard was a little familiar- a good mix of Leaman, The Bible, and others we've read recently.

One of the suggestions, was to have an "empathetic statement" that you say, just before telling them that there is a delayed consequence in their future.  It goes something like this...

"That's a bummer.  I'm sorry you made a bad choice, but don't worry about it right now.  We'll talk about it and later."

We put this into action right away- and after just 2.5 days- Elijah started to "get it"

The delayed consequence is great for multiple reasons, including that it keeps me from making quick decisions out of frustration or anger.  They think about their choice or action, and aren't just focused on my reaction to it.  

The first trip with just me and the little guys to the grocery store proved the the potential.  Just before going into Food Lion, and after a while of me herding cats, I mean boys... I finally had enough and proclaimed "That's a bummer! Both of you made a bad choice and didn't obey mommy..."

Before I could finish Elijah started crying.. "I don't want a bummer, I don't want a bummer!"  All the way through the store, I overheard Elijah say to Isaiah- you're going to get a bummer...

Fast forward two weeks.  We've had several bummers handed out, and most without tantrum, tears or terror.  I get to remain calm, as do my boys.  Calm, not necessarily happy.   We continue to tweak the technique- some bummers call for immediate consequences, most are delayed. 

Now, when I say, "that's a bummer" I usually get my sentence interrupted with... I know, my consequence is XXXX and they fill in the blank with their last consequence.  To keep them guessing, I shake it up and give them something different.

It's great in public too, because saying "that's a bummer"- (confession time, sometimes I cheat and give a little warning like-  I feel a bummer coming -which probably flies in the face of the technique, but we're beginners here) -anyway, I am getting the desired result which is immediate changed behavior.

Kind of like that "look" my momma used to give me.  You know what I'm talking about... the look that meant oh no I've done it now and there's no turning back, my backside is gonna burn look.  Yep- bummer= look.

In this short time my boys associate the word with a consequence.  So much so, it's getting noticed when it isn't directed at them directly. Like, this past Wed at Isaiah's Occupational Therapy session, when his OT said, "it was a real bummer" when telling me about her week, he went "ooooooh, bummer" and looked at me with those big eyes, shrugged his shoulders and went back to his work.

By the way- it works on teens too.  Mine is a little insulted I'm using the same terminology on him, that is being used for his little brothers, but it gets the same result.

Our other takeaway from the night pertains to the future lawyers in my house (all males) no more arguing, because each time I see it coming, I am responding, "I love you to much to argue about that"

It works too!  I'm liking it!

Try it people, it's good stuff I'm telling you.

 Bummers are a good thing for the 5Allenz!

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