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After months of applying for General Service (GS) positions at Rota Naval Station, and continuously being blocked by military veterans and retirees, I finally broke through the blockade and landed a wonderful position as a Program Assistant (teacher) at the Children's Development Centre (CDC).
Today marked the completion of my orientation training, however training in my capacity will be an on-going commitment, one necessary to not only maintain my current skills but to further develop and adapt to new ideas and understandings of early childhood education and of the ever-evolving Navy wide policies and procedures.
Sounds exciting right? I certainly think so!
I also realized this past week, that being a qualified parent, alone, does not automatically result in being a qualified teacher. Rather, I learned that our parenting skills, the ways in which (prior to having my eyes pulled opened this week) my husband and I were directing and guiding Michael through his positive and challenging behavioral moments, were in fact NOT how a teacher would do so in the classroom.
That's not to say that we were bad parents before this week, rather, by us just using the common, 'No and Don't Do This' pre-topic words every time Michael did something we didn't want him to do, we were not only restricting Michael's opportunity to be a part of the decision making process, but we were restricting his basic need of independence (with guided limitations).
We were normal parents who got angry and frustrated when at 7:00pm bedtime, the tantrum started, the "I'm not tired", "I'm hungry", "My belly hurts", "I don't like my room", excuses began, and the climbing out of bed non-stop with screaming and crying, throwing toys at the door until some three hours later played out..every night!
We tried every possible common direction: Stay in bed you'll get a treat in the morning, you'll make mUm and dAd sad, you'll be tired tomorrow, okay come and have something more to eat, a sip of water, Michael it's bed time now, go to bed, that's it, no more getting out of bed or there's no treat tomorrow.
Every one of these reactors did absolutely nothing to ease Michael's desire to stay out of bed, did nothing to ease his tantrum, or our frustration levels...we were letting a three year old take control of us, control of our emotions. Whoah, back up a minute: last time I checked, we were the parents!!!
We were telling him what NOT to do, but we were never educating him on what we actually wanted him to do. We were focusing on the negative behavior versus teaching him the positive behavior. Of course being busy parents, whether in a hurry, tired, sick or frustrated, naturally it was easy to just demand that the negative behavior be stopped immediately and say "Don't do that", "Stop that" etc.
THEN, I was introduced to and trained in, what has become our new live-by, absolutely works 99% of the time rule...the rule of INSTEAD!
"Michael, INSTEAD of hitting your sister, I'd like you to keep your hands by your side and use your words to tell her that you are angry or frustrated".
"Michael, INSTEAD of getting out of bed, I'd like you lie down and stay snuggly and warm".
"Michael, INSTEAD of throwing your toys, I'd like you to help me pick up all the fast racing cars first".
"Michael, INSTEAD of saying a bad word, I'd like you to use your nice words when you talk with friends".
Yes, he dropped an f-bomb at a party a few weeks back and my instant reaction was to angrily say, 'Michael, don't ever say that word again', but he just looked at me with a blank stare and said "Mum, what word, I didn't say it".
I instinctively and somewhat embarrassed (in front of friends - trying to be the good parent) said, "You know the bad word I mean, don't ever say it again you understand".
Now, looking back, it's not rocket science (really) to assume that, he probably had no idea why I was so angry at him for saying a word he had no idea what it was or that he even said, what it meant and why he was supposed to never say it again! He just knew I was angry at him! Is that fair? I didn't tell him what I wanted him to do, I just demanded that he not do what he had absolutely no idea what not to do...confusing....think of the poor kid?
Simple enough using INSTEAD right, in fact probably too simple that it just couldn't possibly work, especially with an, already tried something like this, independent and defiant tyrannical three point five year old?
But, after just ONE week of using INSTEAD's for every time we wanted Michael to do something positive, instead of immediately reacting angrily with on the negatives, "Don't run on the stairs", "Don't throw your toys", "Don't hit",and the 'don't' list goes on and on, we used the INSTEAD rule!
We focused on the positive and not the negative aspect of the behavior and tonight, the week long trial and error culmination, after Michael climbed into bed with only one INSTEAD request, he fell asleep.
My husband and I looked at each other and said, 'ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME....THIS ACTUALLY WORKS".
Who would have thought it could be so simple? Of course, it's not a one-shot guarantee to work every time, as children certainly love to test their limitations, they are experimenting, exploring and developing every day, so to restrict those developments would be unfair, however, we have seen this method work.
We have been taught this method with upmost gratitude and thanks to my new employer and I strongly suggest that all parents, caregivers and providers at least consider the possibility (if not already) of using the INSTEAD approach.
In addition, Dr. Becky Bailey, a guru in educating parents, caregivers and providers on Conscious Discipline added a further in-depth knowledge as to the reasoning behind Michael's behavior, whether it be positive or negative behavior and how we as parents can take BACK control of being the adult!
Dr. Bailey's Live DVD is absolutely amazing, although at $295, may not be affordable for all parents, so instead, grab a 'cuppa', put your feet up and watch this snippet video.
Remember, YOU are the one that needs to be in control...YOU!
*This is not a sponsored post.