Dirt and I went to Pathways adoption training this weekend in NYC. I honestly was not looking forward to going. I figured that they were going to paint awful pictures of older child adoption using worst case scenarios and horrific case studies. I could just see myself fleeing from the room after the instructor showed us clips from the horror movie "Orphan".
However, I was pleasantly surprised. The training was actually awesome. Super-awesome. And I left feeling extremely encouraged. Invigorated even.
We explored our parenting styles (did you know that 98% of the way we parent comes from our mothers?) Woah! We also learned parenting techniques based on Dr. Purvis' research (Her book is called, "The Connected Child").
Here's an example of how the technique might look:
Child: I want a drink
Parent: Are you asking me or telling me? (in playful tone)
Child: Please may I have a drink
Here's another example:
Parent: Can you put your shoes on?
Child: I'm busy playing a game
Parent: (goes over to child and gets in their space, forces eye contact) I'm going to give you two options, 1) would you like to get your shoes on by yourself, or 2) do you want me to walk you over to your shoes and help you get your shoes on? (the options can be whatever you want)
[at this point, the child will most likely choose one of the options. If not, you move to stage 3 which is the "think about it stage". If you get to stage 3, you basically tell the child that they need to think about what they want to do - until they come to the conclusion that they are going to comply. This should take place near you, but the child isn't allowed to play with anything during that time.)
Though the techniques are specifically aimed at helping adopted children connect to their new families, they can be used with biological kids too. Dirt and I were skeptical about how these techniques would play out "in real life" and planned to test them out on Amaya.
We didn't need to wait long for an opportunity...
Me: You need to take a bath
Maya: I don't want to
Me: (moved in close, got in her space, made eye contact with kind eyes and warmly spoke), "I'll give you two choices: You can go upstairs and get in the bath OR I can give you a piggyback ride up the stairs and you can get in the bath. Which would you like?
Maya: (said nothing, she just got up and hung on my back).
Tee hee! It worked!!! I carried her joyfully up the stairs and she got in the bath without any problems! It was like magic!
I tested the various techniques two additional times today and each time I got the same fantastically easy result! I love my new skillz!