Thursday, February 11, 2010

Use Nice Words

I am in a sleep-deprived stupor, but I do want to share what was stumbling through my mind last night from 2:30 to 4:30 am while I was up with my wailing three year old.

Mya woke up fussing and fretting and it didn't take long to escalate.  In moments, I had one angry, defiant little girl on my hands.  Unlike her night furies that I have described before in her blog, she was awake and aware this time.

The deal was that she was screaming and being loud and that's not allowed in our house at night. I instructed her to use nice words to explain her feelings and quiet down the screaming and yelling. I explained to her that if she chose not to be quiet, we would have to go out to the exercise room. (It is freezing out there so I was dreading when I would have to follow through with my threats and thereby punish myself too). It took a looooong time, and three trips to the garage, for her to get the message.

1) What you are doing is unacceptable. It's bothering other people.

2) Instead of choosing this behavior, use nice words to explain what you're feeling and what you need.

3) If you don't stop the behavior, there will be consequences that you won't like. If you do stop, everything goes smoothly.

Sometimes it takes me a loooooong time to get this message too. Last post, I was talking about being grown-up and using nice words in the face of conflict is such a grown-up thing to do.   I may not scream and yell, but I can definitely exhibit some childish behavior and I'm quite famous for not listening when I'm told what to do.

I've been thinking a lot about mediation because that is the process of handling conflict as it comes. Mediation accepts conflict as part and parcel of this life and that is something I'm just beginning to get. In the past, I have worked like crazy to avoid conflict and that's exhausting and impossible.

What I learned from Mya last night were some keys to good mediation.

Use nice words to explain your position and your desires. (I wanted to raise my voice to get through to her, but I didn't).

Do not engage in childish, self-centered behavior to get your way. (Oh how I wanted to stomp out of her room and slam the door!)

Seek to understand your own position so you can better describe it to others. (Just tell her how disappointing this is to be here again and again - over and over).

Listen to the other person so you can understand their place in the situation (But I don't know how to stop crying, she admitted. It hurts my feelings when your mad at me.)

Use nice words, use nice words, use nice words.....thanks for yet another powerful lesson Mya girl. You are teaching me how to be a good girl too.

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