I think my sweet husband and I are pretty good parents. We roll with the total chaos and try very hard to enjoy every moment of it. Personally, I don't mind the little things. My boys can splash water out of the tub. They can race their very loud trucks around the circle of our downstairs while my sweet husband and I sit at the kitchen table, right on the race track, trying to finish dinner. They can rummage through the junk drawer looking for my Bert's Bees to feed their growing lip balm addiction. My big five year can use his "super powers" to climb up onto the kitchen counter and help himself, and his brother, to candy, or a cookie, or a banana. We change diapers on the sofa and the floor. We change diapers in the way back of our Equinator. (Our Equinox- best. car. ever.) I have even changed diapers on the concrete floor of airport bathrooms in both Hong Kong and South Korea. They can litter the backyard with toys and pick out their own clothes, which means sometimes the big five year old looks as though he was dressed by Helen Keller. Truth be told, I am pretty proud of the way we let our boys be themselves. Family over perfection~ that's my motto.
That all being said, however, there are still countless times that I find myself totally exhausted from the nagging and bargaining it takes to keep this family moving. I hate hate hate giving consequences. Can't we all just get along?
So, take the need to lose the nagging and throw in the behavior issues our tiny toddler presents us with on a daily basis and it was pretty clear- we are good at this parenting thing but we could be better. We needed help!
Which prompted a search of parenting styles/classes that fit our family and our specific needs. As an adoptive parent there is no question that some of my parenting techniques must reflect the special needs adoption brings to the table. I started with Beyond Consequences because I was hearing a lot about this approach from my Families With Children From China Friends. And it seemed like a good system, albeit maybe a tad pricey. I have heard nothing but good things about the techniques used through Beyond Consequences. This program was created by an adoptive mother who truly understands attachment issues and how early life trauma can lead to very severe behavior problems that affect the entire family. Which is exactly what we were facing, but still, the program sounded a tad too severe for us. We don't have violence in the home, we don't have totally unmanageable children. Now, we might, one day, if we don't get a handle on all this now, have those major problems, but right now our issues are not that drastic and I am not ready to label our family in that way. So I kept looking.
Then I found Positive Parenting Solutions. Yesterday I participated in a free online seminar with this organization and I learned a few things. First of all, I learned that I am not alone. In fact, I learned that there are families out there with far more serious behavior problems than what my two little guys throw at me. I also learned that we need to get a handle on this now, before my boys grow into teenagers. I learned that I was doing a lot right, which was unexpected and very cool. I learned that you don't need to have kids with major behavior issues to want to have a calmer more loving household. I walked away from that seminar more excited about parenting than I have been in a long time. So I jumped in with both feet and signed up for the online classes and resources. I began using just one of the techniques I learned about yesterday with my big five year old during our visit to the library and we managed to have a perfectly pleasant library visit, complete with kiddy computer time, a game of checkers, and books checked out, all with no whining when it was time to end each activity. Score!
Tomorrow morning I plan to start using a few techniques to make our morning routine run a tad more smoothly. Does it make me a nerd that I am so excited about this? And in my true fashion, I plan to blog about it all the way. What worked, what didn't, what changed my life. So stay tuned, my adventures in positive parenting are just beginning!