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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mom-iversity Week One

Mom-iversity?  What's that?
Well, I'll tell you!
It is the brainchild of Kat @

Basically, it's a course where we moms
choose the content and the pace...
and share what we've learned about
being better moms.

As ALWAYS, I am behind. 
But only by a week, and I'm trying to
catch up.

So, while Kat is already on Week Two, this is my
Week One epiphany:

Course Materials

     I have chosen to read the book Between Parent and Child:  The Bestselling Classic That Revolutionized Parent-Child Communication by Dr. Haim Ginott.  I am trying to read 2-3 chapters a week, but as I said, I got a late start and am trying to cram.  Coincidentally, I am also attending a ladies bible study that is dealing with Christian parenting AND attending a Strengthening Families program offered through my son's school.  Can you tell God speaks to me by using the "power of three"? 

Nuggets of Wisdom

     There are so many!  As I read through this book, it makes so much sense to me.  I feel like I already knew this stuff at one time (obviously BEFORE I ever became a parent!)...as if I am coming back around to what once came naturally.  It's actually a little bizarre. 

     Here we go...

"Statements of understanding should always precede statements of advice or instruction".
     "That must have been very embarrassing"
     "Wow!  It was a bad day for you"


"Feelings MUST be dealt with before behavior can be improved"
     Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew this to be true already.  God has been poking me about this for awhile.  I've known that I NEEDED to work on my relationship with my children FIRST....because why would they ever want to listen to anything I have to say if we don't have a relationship?  And having a relationship is all about dealing with feelings.  Acknowledging them, accepting them, understanding them...

"Children learn about their emotional likeness by hearing their feelings reflected back to them".

"Praise should ONLY deal with Children's efforts and accomplishments, NOT with their character and personality.
     For example, if my son cleaned up the yard for me, proper praise would sound something like this:
     "Wow, the yard was really messy!  I thought it would take days to clean it up, but you worked hard and got it done in one afternoon.  Good Job!"
     Ineffective praise would look like this:
     "You are such a good boy for cleaning up the yard like that!"
     See the difference?  One praises the effort, the other evaluates his character.  We are to stay away from character evaluation.

Criticism = Evaluative Praise
Guidance = stating the problem + a possible solution - character evaluation.

Do say: "The milk has been spilled on the floor. Let's get a towel to clean it up."
Do not say: "You spilled the milk again! Hurry up and clean up your mess"

And finally, possibly the most helpful nugget of advice thus far (if not the most challenging at times):

When things go wrong, it is best to deal only with the event not with the person.
     That's going to get into character evaluation.  The above statements are good examples of this.  You deal with the fact that milk was spilled and we need to get it cleaned up.  You do not deal with the fact that this is the 18th time the child has spilled the milk today, or the fact that he was goofing around at the table and that's why it was spilled in the first place....you can see how that would disintegrate into chaos in 5 seconds. Been there.

In my Strengthening Families program, we learned this week to make "I Feel" statements.  I've heard this before in pre-marital counseling, but now I have a handy-dandy note-card on my fridge!  I've already used it with my 5 year old today and we just learned it a few hours ago!
     It goes like this:

I Feel:_______________
When you ________________________
Because __________________________.
I Want you to ________________________

Let's use my experience tonight as an example.

My five year old was dawdling after his shower.  I heard my husband tell him AT LEAST three times to get his pj's on and brush his teeth.  So I actually said this to him:

I feel frustrated when you make daddy repeat himself several times because it is very disrespectful.  I want you to do what daddy asks the first time he asks you to do it. 
     Seriously.  I said it. He didn't even look at me like I had six heads!  He sighed and said "Okay mommy" and went and got his pj's on and brushed his teeth!  Meanwhile, my hubby and I are giving each other looks of disbelief behind his back...High five!  Go me!

     Any other night, I would have yelled...my husband would have yelled...my son would have yelled, and we all would have gone to bed with headaches, hating each other.  Well, I would have gone to bed with one because I get physically ill these days when I get stressed.  But tonight?  Calm. Peaceful.  My heart rate didn't even raise!  It was like "Leave it to Beaver"!

So that's what I have gleaned from my first week.
Keep in mind this is only the first 1.5 chapters!
I may or may not do a Week One part 2...
I haven't decided yet.

I hope that my blogging this will help anyone
who reads it.  Even if it only entices you
to buy the book yourself or maybe
you can head over to
yourself and check out her Mom-iversity resources.
Kat has been a real inspiration to me
in my motherhood journey, maybe she
will inspire you too!

Just Amy

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