Whenever you are attempting to help your children to align with the values you hold as a family, there will be special times when a value lesson can be taught from what is going on in the moment.
I’ve discovered through my years of parenting, teaching and consulting, that if you make a BIG DEAL about one or two situations, as they occur there is a huge impact in ALL behavior in the following days, months and even years. Sometimes, it may take many many “Teaching Moments” experiences to make an impact on a child, especially if they have very deficient behavior, which has been going on for some time.
I shared the following situation on the Blog yesterday and asked readers to think about how they would handle such a situation. Here is the scenario:
I was working with two children ages 5 and 10 years of age. The little 5 year old, Tim was a very active little boy and the 10 year old, Tiffany, was a very articulate little girl. The values the family had chosen were:
FOUR CORE VALUES:
RESPECTFUL CREATIVE KINDNESS COOPERATION
HAPPINESS CALM PEACE COMPASSION
So after they had been working with the FAMILY VALUES for several weeks they knew them well. However, living them was very different matter. At times the smallest thing would lead to a huge argument. One day when the children came into the office, they both headed for the “blue patted” chair. In doing so, they bumped and stepped on each others feet. Tiffany says, “Tim pushed me!” Tim yells, “You started it!”
So these are my question to you:
What would you do?
Would you let the moment pass and get them in separate chairs?
Would you address the verbal exchange?
How would you handle this?
I invite you to ponder this.
So, please think of how you might handle this before reading further.
Also begin to "see" what you really want to have happen! We want Kindness to become second nature. We want Cooperation. This is the vision we want to hold, even when it's not happening in the moment.
TEACHING MOMENTS IN ACTION:
There are numerous ways this could be addressed. Here is what came to me in the moment:
1. To begin with, I asked them to come to the floor, instead of being in the chairs, because of the way they handled the situation. (This is removing the “focus of the problem” and allowing neither one to “win”.
2. We reviewed the 4 Core Values and the children knew them well.
3. Next I asked if the first value of RESPECTFUL was used by either of them. They started blaming each other again and I stopped them and asked each one individually if they had been respectful. Each replied NO.
4. Next I asked them to reenact the situation, being RESPECTFUL. They refused. Each saying that “THEY” wanted the chair.
5. Next I asked, “How might it be worked out so it would be fair to both of you? They didn’t know. So I asked them if they come each week. Tiffany responded yes, and that one could have it one week and the other have it the next week. SOLUTION #1: Take turns!!
6. So we went on to Value two: CREATIVE I asked if that value was important to this situation. They both said no, so we went to Value # 3 KINDNESS
7. I asked each one, individually, if they had been KIND. Both replied NO. So, I asked how they could have been kind in this situation. They said no, but they replied that the other was so blame.
8. So we did some role playing, of how one might respond if they ‘accidental’ stepped on another. Such as saying, "Oh, I’m sorry!" And then how the other might say, “Oh, that’s ok OR “wow, that hurt”. I find that when children are always bumping into one another, or stepping on each others toes, when they are rushing, they really need to go over and over the “correct” things to say. This is very tedious and yet very important if you want to teach such values. After several tries, they did successfully role played and were kind to each other. SOLUTION # 2 Role Play until the Values is successfully acted out!
9. Then we went on the last value of COOPERATION. I asked how does this play a part in what just happened. Tim replied, “Well, if we take turns, then that is COOPERATION!
I believe that incidents like this really have to be broken down step by step, like we did above, and that the VALUES need to be brought into the Role Playing, so that children can begin to understand the way they can live the values in a daily setting.
I invite you to observe your children and take notes on what you are seeing for several days. Probably you’ll begin to see a pattern arise of how they are interacting.
And pose the question:
How can I help them to live our VALUES? Sleep on it! Give yourself time to allow an idea to come to you about how to begin.
Be Pro Active.