Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Doing it His Way

Last night, Blink was in a mood.  It was time for bed and he did not want to wear a shirt — a choice that made the mother in me really bristle.  It's too cold for that!  I spent some time trying to convince him of this fact.  We both got a little frustrated with each other.  And then I managed to take a deep breath and use the Cooperative Problem Solving model.

"You don't want to wear a shirt," I repeated.  "What's up?"

According to the model, the child is now supposed to share their concern with you. Once you hear what's really going on, you can find common ground. More often I hear things like "I dunno, I just don't wanna."

But last night, Blink said to me, "Mama, I just want to do one thing my way. All day I have had to do things other people's way. Can't I do just do this one thing my way?"

Well. That certainly reframed the discussion.

My exasperation was instantly replaced with empathy.  Does it really matter if he wears a shirt to bed?  No. Yes, he might get cold.  Yes, he might wake me up if he does.  But I was able to air those concerns with him and he was able to articulate a solution for us (wedge a t-shirt partway between his bed and the mattress so he could find it in the dark).

Who knows if it is related, but we had a fantastic morning today, too.  When I dropped him off at school, a para said good morning to him and added, "Are we going to have a better day today?" Hmmm.  No daily report came home yesterday so I have no idea what transpired. I hate it that an offhand crappy little comment like that can hang with me.

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