Written and images on this blog are Judie Ryan's sole property unless otherwise indicated.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT

Can you imagine this perfectly calm, perfectly dressed, not one drop of sweat, anywhere, every hair in place Mom from the fifties taking care of five kids? I also don't think five kids, then or now, would be sitting so well-behaved, with perfect manners, all shiny and clean just waiting for a piece of cake. At least two or three would be crying. Another might be rolling on the floor having a tantrum ("I want chocolate cake!") and Mom would at least have a headache. I don't know about you, raise five kids? I couldn't even take care of one!

Squidoo.com  vintage art via Pintrest
When I adopted my baby, Julia, at one day old, I didn't know anything about raising babies or kids, except "Hungry, Tired, Cold, Wet, Sick." My mother gave me that hint the first time I babysat. It was a good thing because the thought of babysitting really little babies scared me to death. And now that I had Julia I was that scared again. 
        
 After comfortably moving our family into my childhood home, I invited one of the friends I'd known since I was two-years-old to dinner. She'd gotten married about her second year of college and raised five children, who were grown long before Julia was a twinkle in my eye. She told me that when she'd gotten up to her fifth child, she had to come up with a way not to lose one. When they went out together without any help, like to the grocery store, it was always a disaster waiting to happen. She described a scene that would have made anyone laugh. Pushing the youngest in a stroller, with the next oldest holding on to the stroller with one hand, she stretched the remaining kids behind, all holding hands, stringing along behind in a line.

The most important thing she taught me was to say "Look with you eyes not your fingers," instead of "Don't touch that!" Every mother who's kids are running around touching everything they can, which is in fact nothing more than curiosity, says "Don't touch that!"  I here so many mother's say that. I'd love to tell them the secret to keeping themselves calm, their kids happy and not start a huge power struggle, but I know they'd tell me "It's none of you business." Well, I can say it here and if you want to test using positive correction instead of negatives that will be your choice. You can prepare in advance. Think ahead to situations that make you rip you hair out and seem to automatically produce a negative approach from you or your husband. Then, put what most people say automatically into positive language. You'll all develop an entire repertoire of positive correction language and it will be totally in your own style.

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