This morning I finally made it to “Morning Coffee” at Charlotte’s preschool. Morning Coffee is an hour chat hosted by the preschool for (mostly) mommies and (maybe one) daddy to discuss parenting challenges, successes, etc.
Today, the administrator’s “mentor” / school advisor was there. She’s this adorably quirky lady with some sort of foreign accent. At first I thought French. Then I thought Israelli. Guys, don’t ask me… I’m from Wisconsin. She’s not local, how about that?
Anyway, she was wearing this Mary Poppins(ish) outfit with a more modern spin. Black dress with a crisp white collar under a black cardigan and black tights. Immediately I equated her to the Supernanny.
Everyone went around and introduced themselves (to me, as it was my first time attending) and then a couple of women brought up some issues they’ve been having. The gist of the discussion was disciplining. Surprise, surprise!
One woman was dealing with her typically sweet two year old acting out by beating up/tackling his older sister and randomly kicking her (she’s pregnant). Another woman had just lost her live-in nanny who left mainly because she said her son was “too difficult.” One other woman talked about her child throwing a mega tempertantrum in public and how she dealt with it.
First, let me say how much I loved the Supernanny. Her advice and suggestions were SO “Love and Logic,” which is a parenting technique that has really resonated with Mark and I.
Second, here were some takeaways…
- Child Kicking Mom: Supernanny says, “The best way to address this is to calmly and sternly say, “No, stop that now.” This is unnacceptable behavior and we must create a framework immediately that this is not okay.” So the very interesting part is that she said not to threaten, “if you don’t stop, then… ” whatever the consequence of the moment might be (you’ll lose this privilege or that). She said we just sternly tell them to stop and hold their legs or whatever until they do. We don’t have to explain that it hurts. Nothing. Just draw the line at unacceptable behavior. As she was talking, I drew this conclusion that by saying “if you don’t stop kicking, then blah blah” you’re almost giving your child a choice. You’re saying you can kick me but you won’t have XYZ or you can stop kicking and have XYZ. Versus what Supernanny advised, which is simply drawing the line. Interesting, right?
- Tempertantrum in Public: In this instance, the mom carried the kid out kicking and screaming. Once in the car, mom told the kid that he has now lost his tv privilege for the day. Later in the day, she gave him an opportunity to earn the privilege back. It’s unclear if he did or not. Supernanny’s response: no, no. “What relevance does the tv have to the tempertantrum? The consequence is leaving. There does not need to be further punishment.” This is interesting, too. I feel like the tantrums stay with a parent longer than with the kid. We’re still fuming well after the tantrum ends. Maybe that’s why we feel the need to further punish past the natural consequence.
- Kid Beating Up His Sister: “Actions are the venue for our children’s questions.” This is a fancy way of saying that little dude is picking on his sister to express something else that’s going on. She said in this case, it was most likely that the little boy (younger sibling) is trying to gain some dominance. His role as “little brother” was obvious when he was a baby, but now as a 2.5 year old, he’s looking to be more of a leader. Supernanny suggested addressing both children at one time. Making sure to treat them as equals. Discuss how it’s clear that the way that they play together is different and ask them to talk about that a little. Ask questions to promote conversation. What I really liked about this discussion was the stress on talking to the children at one time. When you address your children individually, you’re playing into the tattling. You’re rewarding the behavior by picking a side.
All in all, it was a very interesting and thought-provoking discussion. I’m definitely looking forward to attending more. I love hearing all of the issues, which will likely soon become my own. I think knowing potential solutions prior to experiencing the problem will be very beneficial.
Oh! One more interesting comment… it kind of relates to the last one… make sure you are addressing the problem, not the symptom. Dig for the why behind the action.
What are your thoughts?