Monday, February 15, 2010

The end of exile

Day 314

Day 39

It's felt a little like exile, being cooped up and snowbound for the better part of the last week and a half. We've been out a few times, of course, but there hasn't been nearly enough running around with other toddlers, as far as Soren is concerned. Fortunately, we ought to be able to get together with A and his mom tomorrow, so that'll be good.

Soren's not the only one who would like to get out of the house. Tom got to escape to the store on Sunday for an hour or so, and today was my turn. I even pumped a couple of ounces of milk for Eleri, just in case I was gone too long and she got hungry. Tom said it took her a little while to figure out the bottle, but once she did, she downed that milk like a champ.

This weekend I read Between Parent and Child, by Dr. Haim Ginott. In short, it's about learning how to communicate with your kids in a constructive way, without putting them in a position to be defensive. It's all about validating their feelings, and the basic idea is that by demonstrating that you understand where they're coming from and expressing sympathy for their situation, you avoid arguments, which spring primarily from hurt feelings. This seems to be Ginott's claim, anyway. I'm still trying to decide what I think of Ginott's methods; in almost all of his anecdotal examples, problems seem to be almost magically sidestepped as a result of what appears to me like kind of a non-conversation. The kid is upset about something, the parents says, essentially, "You are upset/hurt/angry/etc. You wish the situation were different." And that's pretty much that. On the one hand, I can certainly agree that (for example) if a kid breaks a toy and is sad about it, getting on the kid's case about breaking the toy doesn't do anything but make the situation worse. And there was a lot of Ginott's book that I will take to heart, and things I will definitely try to avoid when dealing with parent-child confrontations in the future (and even confrontations with other adults). It's the "magical" aspect of which I'm skeptical. I'll just have to wait and see how well it works, down the road a ways as the kids get older.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like you have a good approach, take what works for you and leave the rest. I like the civility and inherent kindness of validating feelings and confirming the other person's viewpoint. The tightrope a parent walks between negotiator and rule enforcer is difficult and it is a good idea to have lots of balancing aids!

Gramma Carrie Ann

Anonymous said...

Who's the diaper dandy?

Grandpa Doctor J