Nobody loses this

Parenting Transformation Journey – page 8
(Click here for page 1)

Whew – we made it through the first real day of implementation. Here are a few other things that happened that I want to remember:

1) My daughter who was already in her 24 hours had an altercation with her brother and I immediately (but mistakenly) said, “Oh no… now we have to start the 24 hours over again.” She was so sad, and something told me to check my notes again. Immediately I remembered Nicholeen taught that if the child falls out of control during the 24 hours, you don’t reset the time UNLESS you go through the whole correction process from the beginning on this new issue, AND the child chooses to go clear through the Rule of 3 again. If it gets that far, THEN the time restarts.

So I told my daughter I was wrong, and that if she could come and accept a small chore, then everything will be okay and she can continue without starting the 24 hours over again. She accepted.

2) Every week our family sets aside one special night to have some fun together. In our family, that usually happens on Monday night. For tonight, I intentionally picked an activity that wasn’t a movie, so that my daughter wouldn’t feel bad about missing it during her 24 hours. But it wasn’t long before my kids reminded me that it had already been decided the day before that our activity would be watching “Prince of Egypt” together.

So I consulted my notes and was reminded that when the family has their weekly activity together, nobody loses that privilege, even if they’ve lost other privileges. I was so relieved, and so was my daughter.

Before watching the movie, we sang a hymn together, opened with a family prayer, and my 15 year old daughter shared a brief devotional on charity. Then we played the game “Do you love your neighbor”. In this game there are enough chairs in a circle minus one for each member of the family. So there were seven chairs for our eight people. I wondered if my daughter would participate because she was being pretty sullen, and I would not have been surprised if she had refused to play.

But as soon as the chairs were brought in, she was the first to sit in one. I was so happy! So here’s how the game works: one person stands in the middle, and asks someone sitting in the circle, “Do you love your neighbor?” That person can say yes or no. If the person says “no”, then the two people on either side of him or her has to trade places before the person in the middle steals one of their empty chairs.  If the person says “yes”, then they have to also say “but I don’t like people who ____________” (have shorts on, have brown eyes, have braces, have a birthday in the first half of the year, etc…). Whoever in the circle fits that description has to jump up and trade chairs with someone else who also fits that description, before the person in the middle grabs one of the empty chairs.

The kids loved it, including my daughter who was in her 24 hours. This was the happiest I had seen her all day. We played for probably 20 minutes, then went to watch the movie together. That is one super awesome movie, by the way.

Before going upstairs, two more of my children had an altercation, both losing their calm, so I said, “Just now you chose to not be calm so I need you each to do an extra chore.” Well, nobody wants to go through what their sister is experiencing, so they both quickly said “okay” and did the jobs.

I realized later that I accidentally went straight to consequence and forgot to first describe exactly what I observed in more detail. I should have said, for example, “Just now, I noticed that you and your sibling were talking to each other disrespectfully. Because you chose to raise your voice at him – and not have a calm voice, face, and body, you have earned an extra chore. I need you to fold the blankets in that pile.”

So basically, I need to work on calmly describing things better. I’ve seen how the explanation really does teach cause and effect. I take it for granted too often that my children will just know and understand that which seems obvious to me. I’ve seen Nicholeen be very deliberate and descriptive. At first I thought it was painfully too much information for the child to hear, but I’m discovering that when I do take the time to calmly and lovingly explain things, they listen and they learn much better than when I just get frustrated that they don’t already know. Another example that I’ve seen work amazingly well is to actually SAY, “Did you know, that when we are selfish, it’s impossible for us to be really happy?” That’s one of those things that I think should be obvious, and I remember coming to that conclusion on my own when I was a pre-teen, but it never crossed my mind to actually say something so elementary to my children out loud.

Anyway, I was impressed and surprised that my oldest son is going along with this. I had not planned on expecting him to participate in this new system, because he’s already 18 and heading off to college in a few weeks. But when something happened with him, and I somewhat accidentally told him that he needed to do a job, he actually accepted. I have worried about getting resistance because he is technically an adult (a strange transition for mothers to experience), so I really appreciated his response. Maybe he responded well because of what he believes this system will do for the family in general. Maybe it was easy enough for him to go along with it because he knows he won’t be with us much longer, I don’t know.

Another son who needed a correction very quickly accepted his job and then removed himself to cool down from feeling frustrated with a sibling. He had spent about 7 hours today mowing lawns so he never did come back to the living room – he fell asleep instead.

After the movie, we decided to have a closing prayer together and my husband asked the daughter who was in her 24 hours to offer it. It was beautiful. She seemed to be back to her old self again. Then it was time for the treat. Everyone went down for a scoop of ice cream, and she went down and helped herself to some cucumbers instead. Nobody had to remind her that she was off treats for 24 hours, and there was no drama about it either. Wow.

Her little sister came and told me that she wanted to save her own scoop and let her older sister have it when the 24 hours was over.

It’s been a challenging day, but amazingly, not exhausting at all. I am not used up. I have lots of energy left over. This is so strange! This day is probably one of the best we’ve ever had. I never lost control. I felt at peace the whole time. I had confidence in what I was doing, and when I forgot what I was supposed to do, I had no problem telling my kids, “hang on, let me figure out what I’m supposed to do about this…” It even got to the point that the kids were asking me to check my book for some of the answers to their questions or concerns. They’re allowing me to learn this as I go.

I’m realizing that I don’t have to already be good at this to get underway. When I get stuck and my mind goes blank, I consult my notes. And then writing about my experiences as I have them is really helping, too.

But to be honest, I’ve been a little uncomfortable writing about it in real time. I’m not posting my experiences to invite judgment (though I’ve received some). Nor am I sharing this journey to preach to anyone else about what they should do in their family. I could have written all this in my personal journal, but I wanted it to be digitally searchable for my own sake for when I want to go back and review more easily what I’ve learned. I could have kept the posts private. I’m still considering switching them to private… but I also wanted to be accountable to my friends because I knew it would cause me to try harder to see it through.

Now that I feel like I’m truly underway and feeling good about the progress, maybe I’m ready to switch it to private… but it’s just my habit to be public because, after all, I am a blogger. I do realize this isn’t the topic for which my blog was originally created, but it IS all about principles. Besides, I’m not the same person now that I was when I set my blog up.

I also really didn’t want to start a new blog specific to parenting because I knew I’d get sucked into the vortex of building a new website, something I enjoy, but something I decided to stop doing for a while to reclaim that valuable time for my own family.

Now that I think I’m rambling, it’s time to hit the sack.

If you disagree with anything I’m doing, then before leaving your comments, all I ask is that you please first watch this BBC episode so you can see where this is going. They say that in the middle of a life-saving surgery it can appear as though there has been a murder in the room. It might get a little messy in the middle, but I do believe and trust in the end result. Each of my posts – standing alone – will not provide the big picture… but the episode does. Enjoy!

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6 Responses to Nobody loses this

  1. Leslie,

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It’s hard to believe you could have gotten judgmental feedback on an attempt to be a better parent! And your posting is revealing an impressive system, which I now want to know. I think if you only address success in the obvious areas, money, time, business, without being willing to look at needed success in other areas, it’s not true success. True success would also include self control, family control, controlling, thoughts, words, emotions, and healing broken areas of our lives. Success is a lifelong pursuit. I am so glad you are sharing your seeking after success in your parenting. That gives me something else to seek after myself.

  2. Christina Millican

    I LOVE that you are documenting this! I started at the same time as you did and it is helping me so much to have your experiences to read right along with mine. I just wanted to share on the subject of two siblings loosing their calm toward each other. When they are fighting, I have tried the “group problem solving session” describing what they did, and then what they should’ve done, giving them each a turn to say their point of view and how it made them feel. It is amazing how just being heard helps them get calm! This process of me validating them and letting them know that I see what they DID do correctly during the altercation and that their feelings are important to me helps tremendously. In the past, I have brushed their feelings aside and took an “I don’t want to hear it approach” just to make it easier on me. (Usually because I was already stressed and couldn’t handle all that extra emotion of yelling and whining while they explained how they were wronged…and I didn’t really know what to do to resolve the fighting anyway so why go through all that grief) But now we know how to describe what happened CALMLY which is such a fantastic improvement. So, after the “group problem solving session” I tell them that by not staying calm they have chosen to earn an extra chore and that I want them to do their extra chore “together” which gives them time to improve their relationship that they had just now hurt because of their altercation. I love this program!!!! I love knowing exactly what to say and the confidence and peace that comes along with that! Thank you Nicholeen Peck and thank you Leslie!
    P.S. I agree with you, it is amazing how well my children LISTEN when I am calmly explaining these principles and skills. This really makes sense to them and they seem to being enjoying learning it. :)

  3. love it! I love “seeing” how this works in real life! Thank you for sharing. I am learning so much! I’m excited to get my copy of Nicholeen’s book- wow! I’m so grateful- so grateful!

  4. I am really glad you are writing this and that you made it public or I never would have had this profound experience reading it. I read Nicholeen’s book a few years ago, tried it out (half heartedly) and then just continued on in my default parenting. But reading your experiences while you were going through them, well the impact has been great on me. My family is in crisis right now and I need and pray for the things that will help and lift and bless us and just by a miracle I am reading your blog. Thank you, and if you go private please let me come along!

  5. So happy to hear how it is going for you! We started today as well. I was completely calm the whole day. Sacia reminded me when I gave an instruction and my child didn’t follow through (and I totally missed it). It was so awesome for me! Part of our success is surrounding ourselves with others who are doing the same. It helped.

    Because our kids left at home are younger than 7 we haven’t started the implementation of extra chores, but we did have some time outs to remember to be calm. Today was great! The kids kept hearing me talk about calm, about disagreeing appropriately, etc etc. What a life changing thing we are all going through!

    Good for you Leslie! We can do this! :)