June 26, 2010

Truer words...

Truer words were never spoken…

“Stop behavior includes the frequent, minor, everyday hassles kids present to you, such as whining, disrespect, tantrums, arguing, teasing, fighting, pouting, yelling and so on. Stop behavior – in and of itself – ranges from mildly irritating to obnoxious. Each of these difficult behaviors alone may not be so bad, but add them all up in one afternoon and by 5 p.m. you may feel like hitchhiking to South America.”
– Dr Thomas W. Phelan Ph.D   ‘ 1-2-3 Magic - Effective Discipline for Children 2 – 12

Dr. Phelan hit the nail on the head! Ding-ding-ding-ding! We have a winner folks! Someone gets it! Someone has been a fly on the wall in my house and has seen how each little episode of whining and fighting and refusing to eat - alone is not so bad… but at the end of the day… when all is said and done…. Dr. Phelan said it exactly right; by 5pm I am so ready to hitchhike to South America and NEVER RETURN! But since running away is not an option they must have witnessed me having an “adult temper tantrum” at about bath/bed time and said “Lord- help that woman stop acting like a child!” and thus 1-2-3 Magic came into my life.

Brian and I have read Dr. Phelan’s book now and have had so many “Ah-Ha moments” it’s not even funny…. Actually – Come to think of it, it might be very funny. If Dr. Phelan tells you not to do something and I mean never ever, ever, ever, ever, do “X-Y-Z” if you want your child to listen/behave. Then Brian and I have been doing” X-Y-Z” and “Q-R-S & T” too!

It’s so simple – so frying pan upside the head easy, it’s ridiculous! But it makes so much sense! There was nothing in this book that we looked at each other, rolled our eyes and said “yeah right” too. Granted the proposed result from using this 'method' of parenting so fricking uncomplicated it might have raised our eyebrows at first - but the further on we read the more and more sense it all made.

I broke down and was willing to read a 'parenting book' for two reasons. I was tired of the way things were going at home. I was tired of yelling – Because I know full well that yelling produces zero results. It only raises blood pressure – strains the throat and gives the neighbors within earshot something to gossip about. The second was that I know Dr. Phelan - Not personally, but I know of him. His books on ADD and ADHD were in my home as a child. Once I opened ‘1-2-3 Magic’ I could hardly put it down. It was an easy, eye opening and quite often entertaining book.

Now, I have been no saint. I have done the opposite of what one should do according to Dr. Phelan on many occasions. In fact there are some scenarios that my reaction every time it happens is the opposite of what it “should” be. But I read the book first and kept saying “Someone should tell my hubby this.” – “That is exactly what my hubby does.” – “My hubby is either going to love this or hate this.” – “If things are going to change – my hubby and I are going to have to change.” – I was worried what he would think. For the record – not only did my darling husband need to changes his ways – I did too – I was right there with him on the mistake, mishandling and mishap train.

I wish I could have been in the car with the hubby as he was listening to Dr. Phelan on tape. I wish I could have seen the expressions on his face as he heard what I read – each scenario presented was one we’d been in before. Each example of what not to do was exactly what we did. The phone call from him was priceless. “I do exactly what I shouldn’t do – every time!” It was an “Ah Ha moment” – not a “What a crock of shit moment” - Thankfully!

So we have started the “counting” and so far we have had good results. We are not pro’s at it yet. We stumble, make mistakes and have yet to become consistent with it, but feel confident that once we do we will have a happier, more peaceful home. Our short term goal is to have the “stop behaviors” under control both at home and in public by the end of the summer so that we can get a grip on the “start behaviors” – i.e. eating, cleaning up, bedtime.

This parenting thing is hard… I’m pretty sure you don’t get the hang of it until you’re a grandparent!

Maybe someday soon, 5 o’clock will roll around and I won’t feel like hitchhiking to South America anymore! Once can hope, can’t they?

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