I recently received a very inspiring email which answers the question "How will Teaching Self Government change my family?" I love to see what Teaching Self Government looks like in other homes, so I thought you would enjoy it too.
TSG has change my life. It has opened my eyes to the 4 basic communication skills. It has given me hope that despite my upbringing, I can learn the skills to help me be a better parent and communicator with my children. It helps me to pause when I'm really frustrated, to know what to say in any situation instead of constantly having to be creative and dream something up to fit each unique child and situation. It is a framework for allowing the uniqueness of each situation and each child to be respectfully handled. It has been a healing factor for me as an adult to deal with anyone in any situation. It has enabled me to chose how I react to criticism (critiquing or suggestions/concerns) from other adults, how to accept a 'no' answer and pause when things don't go my way. It has helped me to learn how to be respectful to others by walking me through the 4 basic steps. It has helped me to see my children as real people with real ideas and concerns as to what goes on in our family. It has given me freedom from bad parenting habits.
When I introduced the 4 basic skills to my children then, 9, 6, 3, they were spellbound by the fun interaction as we role played the skills. They were empowered with how to appropriately respond when given instructions, no answers, how to accept feedback and how to disagree appropriately. Disagreeing appropriately is their favorite. They know that it's ok to disagree, that it's ok with us (the parents) and that there is a way to talk to us when they disagree.
The children love, love, love family meeting. Am I faithful at holding it every week, no. We hit it about once a month, sometimes twice. I'm still learning, but when we have it they know what to do, they love voting, they love learing how to manage a home and family. They feel so empowered. Our family meeting notes are in a bright red binder with hearts all over it. It is the most special and cool looking binder in our home and they can find it in a flash. They beg to have family meeting!!
When they are babysitting each other when we go on a date, they have their own powwows to make decisions to avoid contention. They know how to run those powwows because of family meeting. They know that worst thing that will happen to them when they make a bad behavior choice is loss of privileges for 24 hours and then working on SODAS or role play with mom. They are seeing how to be merciful and forgiving as we problem solve instead of being 'grounded' or given some heavy sentence that I've pulled out of my hat in frustration.
These parenting principles have changed my life too. This is why I feel so compelled to share them with the world.
Thanks for the great comments, Nicholeen :)