Success Stories and Some Questions | Teaching Self-Government

Success Stories and Some Questions

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Thank you so much for your teaching this subject!  I purchased the CDs about two months ago when I heard about them through the LEMI mentors association, listened to them, took lots of notes, and put it into action at a family meeting about 3 weeks ago. 

 

It has been so helpful!  It has already made a big difference in our home!  My eight year old son was having trouble obeying the first time i.e. following instruction, and we would ask him again and again to do things and he wouldn't do them.  He would forget or get distracted reading.  (He's a white, through and through.)  Then we would get angry and he would do it.  But he would sometimes get angry and lately even sometimes go into a little bit of a rage.  That was scary.  The whole feeling in our home would be sour, and it was frustrating!  In fact, last spring I made him a chart and told him if he would obey the first time right away 50 times then I would take him to the zoo.  He wanted to go so badly because he loves animals and reads all about them all the time.  It would have only taken him 2-3 days if he would have done it, but after about 4 months I took it down because he just couldn't seem to do it.  But once we started this, it is like night and day!  He cheerfully says "Okay" and goes and does what he is asked almost every time.  When he is given an extra chore, he doesn't throw a fit or complain but goes and does it.  He follows instructions first time, right away almost every time.  It's amazing!  This is so hugely helpful!  It has been great for my 11 year old as well.  The fighting has been greatly reduced, and she obeys so well, too.  She wasn't too bad before but is so much better now.  Surprisingly enough for me, my 13 year old, who has always been "the good one", has had more trouble with this than I expected, but most of that is related to the fact that lately she doesn't accept a no answer and will pout about it.  That has been going on for around a year now.  But she is figuring it out as well.  My 5 year old is doing well with it, also.  I am not having the disobedience that I was having before.  I wasn't sure how the extra chore thing would work with her, but I have been able to figure out some things that she can do.  Funny enough she actually likes doing them.  I think it's because she feels like a big girl like her older siblings.  Hopefully, that's not a bad thing that she likes her "negative" consequences and won't do things just to earn some. 

 

However, there are a few things that I must have missed somehow, and I have some questions to ask so that I can fill in the"holes". 

 

First of all, I'm not quite sure how I'm supposed to be implementing this with my three year old.  If I give her an instruction or a "no" answer and she doesn't like it or follow it, then I don't know what to do with her.  I have been doing the role play of me being her and she being me, and it has worked.  In other words, she will usually go and follow the instruction, but recently she has decided that she doesn't want to do the role play and will just whine or fuss and won't do it.  I know that isn't following the instruction, but it isn't like I can give her an extra chore.  She isn't capable of really doing any extra chores right now.  So what am I supposed to do with her? 

 

Secondly, I'm not clear about what to do about tattling.  I have been listening to what they say and trying to reflect back to them what they are telling me and their feelings, but it seems that they just want me to referee.  In the past, I have dealt with tattling by ignoring it because I thought they should learn to solve their own problems and I don't want to referee.  Now I'm not sure exactly how I should deal with this.  Do I have to try to figure out which one is "right" and give a negative consequence to the one in the "wrong"?

 

Thirdly, I'm not sure what to do about fighting.  When we had our family meeting to put this into effect, my husband and I had decided beforehand what was a major offense and what was a minor offense and the consequences for each.  However, I'm not sure if that was the right approach or if should have been decided in a family meeting.  And do I give a consequence for a nitpicking comment or a growl because one of them is frustrated with another?  And then what if I'm not around to know about the fighting?  That brings it back to the tattling question in effect. 

 

What about throwing a tantrum and yelling?  I guess that goes back to not following an instruction, but it seems like if they start yelling at me then they are doing something that is bigger than a minor offense.

 

Anyway, I really appreciate your help on this.  Thank you so much again!  I can't tell you how grateful that I am to you in providing this way to teach my children and create a truly happy home that is peaceful.  And when my children pass this on to parenting their children and so on it will have an exponential effect for good!  Thank you so much!

 

Thank you for sharing your great success stories with me.  I love hearing how well things are going.  Regarding your questions:

 

  • With the three year old, you should use time out like I instruct on the CDs.  After she is calm, talk about what she did and what she should have done and then practice doing the right thing.  Give her lots of praise for her practice, and then have her right any wrong she might have done.  (Saying Sorry etc.)  She doesn’t need extra chores yet, but you should start teaching her the steps.  Never too young to problem solve.  I also play a game with little ones called, “What if.”  I think I have addressed that on the blog before.  It is basically a way of doing verbal SODAS for youngsters.  Just so you know at age three, I do have them put a few books away etc for an extra chore.  They just have to see cause and effect. 

 

  • About Tattling:  They do want you to referee.  J  Tattling is a behavior that usually goes against family mission and the overall feeling of love in the home, so in my home tattling just to point negative attention at another person is wrong and earns a negative consequence.  However,  I also encourage my children to come to me if they are having a hard time problem solving or if they feel like hurting another person.  It is much better to come for help from a parent than to hit a person because you don’t know how to communicate what you feel.  When they come to me because of this kind of problem, I praise them for problem solving and showing restraint and we talk out the problem like you described.  I also encourage telling on another person if the person is doing something that could hurt them, someone else, or property.  Sometimes our children can be our eyes and stop dangerous things from happening.  When they report things like this, I praise them for looking out for what was right and our family.  However, tattling to get someone else in trouble earns negative consequences because it goes against our family vision and mission.

 

  • About fighting:  You are right to decide your family economy with your husband.  After the whole government has been established by the parents then other things can be decided as a family in family meetings……….Don’t ever “give” consequences.  J  Make sure they “earn” them.  And, yes if they nitpick that goes against the family mission.  That would earn a negative.  The fighting thing does go back to the tattling.  The best thing here is problem solving and parent intuition.  Talk it all out—Correct any negative behaviors. 

 

  • About Yelling and Tantrums:  These are out of instructional control behaviors.  Use the Rule of Three.  Don’t be afraid to let them choose to loose everything possible.  If they don’t think they can loose it, then they won’t pick to control the behavior.  Cause and effect is the key to showing them they can choose something else besides the wrong choice.

 

Great Questions!  J

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