My brother and I often discuss parenting challenges and exchange war stories — what worked, what didn't. He recently turned me on to a technique called a "do-over." It works like this...
When your child is behaving in a manner that is not ideal, or s/he is not following a rule, you INVITE them to a do-over. The key here is to INVITE them to try again. No yelling. No tears. No judgement. Just an invitation to do it over.
My eight-year-old daughter flipped out the other day after playing a card game. I was irritated at the behavior because I felt she knew better, but before I could even respond, my husband chimed in and asked if she'd like a do-over.
To my surprise, she answered yes and in that moment, she literally approached it as if the scenario had just happened and she handled herself in a much better way!
I found it awesome for a couple of reasons. One, I was so impressed that my hubs implemented the technique before I had even THOUGHT of it! Awesome! And two, my kid jumped on board. No further meltdown, no arguing. Just complete cooperation. Awesome!
More awesomeness followed. A day or two later, my husband was acting goofy with my daughter. This skill of his can be a double-edged sword. My kid loves it most of the time. But when she's tired, watch out — it's cause for irritation. When he realized he pushed her buttons, he ASKED HER if HE could have a do-over. She said yes. And, again, crisis averted.
I love this man. And now I love this technique!
We've tried do-overs for just the past week and it's MAGIC! You don't even need a wand! This technique is so subtle. You're communicating, "Uh, come again?!", but in a totally non-threatening way! Provided you can remember to OFFER the invitation with love, rather than lose your shit, it just WORKS!
This has been a great tool for us in such a short period of time. I just couldn't keep it to myself! It takes a village after all! And while it's a strategy to use with our kids, please remember that we ALL need a do-over sometimes.
Be open to what comes.