Thursday, August 11, 2011

I loved reading Laura's post about "talk-throughs", one of the ways to Prepare for Success using the Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting methods.

There are so many positive, pro-active ways to Prepare for Success, to stop things from going wrong before they have a chance to go wrong.

These days Noël sometimes calls a "talk-through" a "think-through", in order to really make the point that the child is doing some thinking here, not just talking. Children can get quite good at talking without thinking!

In one of these - whatever you choose to call it - our questions, asked at a neutral time before the event, prompt the child to think about and visualize and verbalize themselves doing the correct behavior. It's an extremely useful tool that gets children thinking about the right thing to do, before they've done it, while they still actually have a chance to influence their own behavior for the best. This is in contrast to what often happens between parents and children: the kids get criticism and reprimands after they do the wrong thing.

Adding to the concept of a "think-through" is something my kids and I came to call a "think-after". The boys came up with that name years ago, after they had heard me say a number of times, after some challenging event (that we had prepared for): "I think that went really well, and I'll tell you why..."

A "think-after" is a mini "think-through" that happens AFTER the event. Think of it as a debrief that focuses on the positive. A "think-after" is the perfect opportunity for Descriptive Praise. In fact, your "think after" should consist primarily of Descriptive Praise sentences. For example, instead of saying, "You did such a great job getting ready for school", instead try, "You remembered to put everything you need for school in your backpack--your homework, your supplies and your lunchbox." Just describe exactly what they did right.

If it was worth doing a "think-through" about in the first place, then it is worth doing a "think-after" about afterwards. This is yet another positive way to instill in our children the values we want them to have.

Jill Janis (see profile below)
Tucson, AZ

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