So this week I started reading "10 Conversations you need to have with your children." One of the chapters is about instilling in our kids the abilitiy to listen to their inner voices to help them decide what the right thing to do is. Instead of parents always telling their children how to behave or what is acceptable, the author suggests asking them, "Do you want to be a good or bad person?" and explaining to them that this is a choice that we all have to make every day. Of course, the book explains it a lot better than I just did - in fact, I think I combined two chapters!
As a parent of 5 wonderful children, I'm always looking for techniques to try that will make them better people and make my life easier. So this week I tried this. Maggie and Audrijana fight a lot over silly things so they gave me the perfect opportunity to begin this technique. Audrijana came to me crying that Maggie stole her candy from her (actually it was my candy that I shared with Audrijana!) Instead of being a referee between them (this happens a lot), I asked Audrijana, "Do you want to be a good person or a bad person?" At first she said, "Bad." (No surprise there!) Then she laughed and said, "I want to be a good person Mommy but I want my candy too." So I asked her, "What would a good person do?" Right away she said, "Share." So then I told her, "Audri, you know what to do then, so you don't need my help." Off she went. I heard her tell Maggie, "I'm being a good person so I'll share with you, and you have to share with me too." And all was good (for 5 minutes!)
Being a parent to 5 kids is a lot of fun and a lot of work. And as every parent knows, no two kids are alike. My oldest, Martha, seems to have been born with this question already answered. No, she's not perfect, none of us are, but for the most part, she does the right thing without anyone telling her to. Maggie loves to please us, but she also loves to get her own way, so this is a bit of a struggle for her. Bruce tends to act impulsively (maybe it's a boy thing!) But when he does think before he acts, he usually makes the right choice. Audrijana has earned her "Princess" nickname as she is spoiled and used to getting her own way (Yes, I know it's our fault!) This week she's been working really hard on being a good person. I heard her asking her siblings several times, "Are you gonna be a good person or a bad one? I'm going to be a good person." And Isaac is 19 months (where did the time go?) so it's not really that applicable to him yet.
This is what I've been up to....I'll keep you posted as to how it works.
Wish me luck!
P.S. Martha's trip to Quebec was awesome. The bus broke down a couple of times and unfortunately she endured some bullying (and no help from her teacher.) but her favourite part of the trip was the dog-sledding, where she accidentally ran into the team in front of her, which of course was led by some boys in her class! Oh, the drama of being 13!