Monday, August 10, 2015

Mom-ing Through Faith: On The Big Red Button

This will be the last week I post about Danny Silk's amazing theories and techniques from Loving Our Kids On Purpose. For more information, theology, techniques, etc., again, I recommend you order and read this book for yourself. You won't regret it-I promise!

Before we bid Danny Silk adieu, I wanted to introduce a couple more concepts that I think are key in parenting and raising faith-filled, responsible, heart-to-heart-connected children. 

First, let's talk about the BIG RED BUTTON

Dun, dun, duuuuuuuuuuun.

Most parents have a big ol' button that can get us steaming mad, blowing smoke, and spitting fire: disrespect. 

When our children are young, this may come in the form of not listening, not following instructions, doing the opposite of what we ask (demand?) them to do. 

When our children are older, this may take the form of defiance, lying, and arguing, among other things. 

When kids push that BIG RED BUTTON of disrespect, it makes us feel CrAzY because we feel out of control. Therefore, we react: we yell, we bark out commands, we try to control them, and yet, all the while, we have shifted the power to their hands. Therefore, 

we need a way to manage ourselves so these guys will have no success in pushing our buttons, no matter which way they poke and prod our psyche. 

Danny also says, and I love this, 

Your children are learning right in front of you, and you must understand that you cannot take their learning personally.

One of the ways we can disconnect the BIG RED BUTTON is to ensure that our child's problem doesn't become our problem. He/She has to take ownership of it so that he/she can decide (i.e., make a choice, that word we love so much) how he/she is going to handle it. In other words, we need to

equip them to learn how to take responsibility for their choices and decisions--this shifts the power to their hands, which is important because remember, the only human being any of us can control is ourselves.

My favorite way to do this that Danny describes is by using, what he calls, "mental pauses" (aka what I call, "one liners").  

As Danny says, these one-liners are

a way to kick your brain into neutral...they help you to become sort of like a cloud, something that doesn't react-something that cannot be controlled. 

However, the goal is not to shut your child down. It's to empower him/her to find his/her own solution; therefore, your approach is not one of malicious intent. It's one of trust and love. 

So what are these magical one-liners? Things like: 

Probably so. 
I know.
That could be. 
I don't know.
Oh no. 

And one I came up with myself and use all the time with my kiddos: 

What are you going to do about that?

Here's a general example Danny Silk presents in his book of what using the mental pauses looks like:

"This is stupid. It's not fair!"
"I know."
"You know it's not fair?"
"Probably so." 
"This is the meanest thing you have ever made me do!"
"That could be."
"Why are you acting like a freak?"
"I don't know."

You are telling your child, "I am the cloud and cannot be moved....I am going to manage me while you struggle with you. I do not control your attitude or your mouth. The moment I try, I will begin to lose this battle."
See how that works? Brilliant! You just helped to disconnect the BIG RED BUTTON.

As is stated in the Loving Our Kids On Purpose workbook, 

These sayings are a way of keeping your sanity, while your children are losing theirs. 

And also

These one-liners will help you stay away from entering into an argument or power struggle.  

A simple example from my real life? Okay! 

Raleigh: "Mom, I am so thirsty." 
Momma: "Oh no!"
Raleigh: "I really am, Mom!"
Momma: "What are you going to do about that?"
Raleigh: "Will you fix me a cup of milk, please?"
Momma: "I'd be happy to. Thanks for asking so nicely." 

In the past, I would have immediately gone and gotten her something to drink as soon as I heard the word thirsty. But now? Now, I am trying to teach her to take responsibility for her own problem, and come up with her own solution (in this case, simply requesting some help. No problemo!). My hope is that my introducing such simple examples at her young age she will become more attuned to do this on her own as she develops.


Banks: "Moooooom!!!! Raleigh took my mask!"
Momma: "Oh yeah?"
Banks: "Yes! And she won't give it back!"
Momma: "What are you going to do about that?"
Banks: "Raleigh, will you give me back my mask, please?"
Raleigh: "Sure."

In the past, I would have barked out an order, commanding, "Raleigh! Give Banks back his toy right now!" But now? Now, I want Banks to try and problem-solve without coming to me for the answer, the solution, right off the bat. Sure, there will be instances when she will respond to his request with, "No!" but then is a time that we could shift into the choices technique or Banks could come up with another alternative on his own. Again, though, the key is that the problem is no longer mine--it is theirs to figure out and take responsibility for.

Now, let's be honest here: We are mommas, which means we are nurturers, which means we want to step in and help our children, which means we often want to solve their problems for them. But. Who is that helping? Is that truly setting them on a path to be responsible, capable adults? Of course it would be easier to just solve their problems for them! 

Another example from the book is a child who forgets to bring her lunch to school. She calls the mom to bring it to her. Instead, the mom uses the one-liners to ensure the problem remains that of her teenager and ends up helping her come up with solutions of how to handle the problem, none of which include having the mom deliver the lunch to her. And you know what? The problem, which was the teen's, was solved, by the teen. 

It would have been easy for the mom to just deliver the lunch. But instead, the teen learned that she needs to take responsibility for keeping up with her things and also come up with other options should she forget her lunch in the future. The same could go for forgotten homework. Easier said than done, sure. But we mommas are tough. We can do it. :)

So, there you have it. I hope the summary and explanation of some of what is laid out in the Loving Our Kids On Purpose book has been helpful. Give the book a read, give these techniques, be consistent and persistent, and see what happens. I have a feeling it will be beneficial for all parties involved, of all ages. 

I am reserving next Monday for a special post but promise to return in two weeks for the next Mom-ing Through Faith topic. Thanks for hanging in and offering support to not only myself but also each other, as we walk along in both our mommahood and faith journeys. Be well, and I'll be back soon!

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8.

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