Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It all ended...

when the Man of the Frumpy House and I sat one evening and watched "1-2-3 Magic" video. This is a book and a 2 part video series by Dr. Thomas Phelan (find out more here). We found only the first "1-2-3 Magic" dvd to watch. BUT OH!! The difference watching that video made!

It's been about a month now, a month where the temper tantrums are few and far between. A month where momma wants to go home and spend time with her family (yes all of them). A month where I can finally give hugs, give kisses, snuggle with (although she isn't a very big snuggler) and even eat at the same table with EVERYONE in the family and enjoy it!

It's a month where she's taking care of her chores without having warfare. A month of oral and physical hygiene has been done without threats and wasted time...yep! even that!

A month where the extremely picky eater has finally sat down at the table and tried a bite of "unliked" foods without a NUCLEAR meltdown! Ummm...yesterday at the dinner table she even said, "I'm going to try mashed potatoes". Put a spoonful on her plate and ate a hello? this is my child right?!? (I will give her this...mashed taters were the only food she ever spit out as a if she never eats them I won't care)

The past 30 days has had more fun, more laughter, more family time. Well, more enjoyable family time (as she really has made quite a few family excursions quite horrid) the last month!

So, what is it? You ask...I shall do my best to answer!

The basics of the "1-2-3 Magic" is for the parents to not get emotional about the bad behaviors. Not to become entangled in arguing or explaining themselves to their child. Ummm, ok, so basically I've been doing most everything wrong...well, sorry, I've never had to deal with this extreme behavior (and to just give you a background I have worked in a Children's Home taking care of emotionally and physically abused children, I have also been a nanny to a number of children).

It's an amped up version of putting your child in time out (which we have done & it didn't work, probably because we were doing it all wrong). It's giving them the opportunity to take the wrong behavior that they are in and giving them till the count of 3 to change the behavior and move on when asked to.

Let me give you a personal example (please, take it, I have plenty):

Mornings at the Frumpy House....
     L is expected (and has been for the past 4 years) to get up, eat breakfast, get dressed and brush teeth and hair. She does the getting up really well, most days, it's the other items where it gets a bit tricky! She doesn't want to get dressed, she wants to wander around and pester someone first. She doesn't want to brush her teeth and hair ("I like it this way" has been thrown at me many, MANY days when it comes to hair). So throughout the morning, you can imagine the stress and the amount of time it takes just to get her out the door to school!

Because, of the 1-2-3 program it now takes her about 1/2 an hour to get herself ready for the day. She has also been doing some of her chores without having to be told, reminded somedays....but mostly just told once and she gets it done! I. KID. NOT!!!!!

After watching the DVD Greg and I sat down with the girls for dinner one night and we explained what was going to happen in the Frumpy House from now on....

We were not going to tolerate disobedience, talking back, whining or defiant behavior or looks (yep, rolling your eyes at your momma is not floating my boat!).

Let's continue our little scenario...
     L is done with breakfast. She has been told to go brush her teeth and hair. I find her in the living room, picking on her sister most likely. I step into the living room where she can see me and I can see her.  "L, you were told to get your hair and teeth brushed. You best go do that before we have to walk out the door."  BRACE's about to start!

"Mom, I can't right now. I don't want to. I like my hair this way..." all said in a very loud voice with a tinge of whine and a scowl creeping across her brow (you got that mental picture now right?)

----In the past this was a red flag, and the momma would charge voice would rise to meet her decibel, I would set my jaw cause I was determined that I was gonna make her get the jobs done and out the door on time.--- NOW....

     "L that's 1" UMMMMM yes, that is ALL I say...NOT KIDDING!

This quietly spoken, emotionless phrase at times makes her dig her heels in and start crankin' it up, "I will do it, just not now!" as she throws down a foot stomp for added dramatic measure!!

     "L that's 2"....yep, still spoken without emotion or raising my voice.

Now, this has usually been the highest I have needed to count (once or twice I have counted 3 and she has been sent to her room to cool off, calm down, chill out (whatever you want to call it)). She has changed her attitude and gone on to do as asked....whew, drama averted! She goes on to take care of her business and I go on to take care of mine, all is quiet and all are at peace!

Our greatest problem is she wants an explanation of why she must do what she is told to do, why she can't do what she wants to do, what she did wrong....etc. basically we have found she wants to engage us is a debate of you say, I say. EVERY SINGLE TIME!!
This magic formula has enabled us to leave the debate out of the process, she knows we aren't going to go into describing why we want her to brush her teeth each morning. She just knows that we are going to expect her to be obedient, without debate.

Now, for those of you readers (and I love you) who are thinking, "this is all good, but it doesn't take care of the core of the problem. Her defiance and disobedience". You're quite right, it is just taking care of the moment, the mouth, the whining....etc. I have no question that L goes to her room mumbling a few questionable things about the unfairness of her mom or dad.  But, I cannot address this with her at this time, she isn't in a frame of mind to listen and say, "You're right mom! How could I be so mistaken! I will jump to obey!"

That comes later friends....

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