The keynote speaker was a very funny and inspiring mom who teaches parenting workshops in Colorado. i bought her book "Buddha never raised kids and Jesus didn't drive carpool". I will let you know how I like it. Here are her main points:
1. Parenting is stressful. You will get angry and you may even yell. (May?)forgive yourself and apologize to those affected.
2. Her number one suggestions was to remain calm. she is really into deep breathing. inhale slowly to the count of 6, hold for 6, then exhale slowly to the count of 6. This can be done any time you are feeling stressed. In the car, while trying to make dinner, etc...
3. Take care of yourself. Exercises, be creative, meditate, whatever you need to do. (eat chocolate?).
4. Try and connect with you children whenever possible, instead of "commanding". Here is an example:
Scenario 1- Mom comes in and starts saying sternly,"it almost time to go, everyone get your things, we're going to be late!"
Scenario 2- Mom comes into the room and sits next to child or gets on their level. Look into their eyes and rubs their back. "Honey, do you know what time it is?" "No". "well, it is almost time to go, where do we go today"? "School". "right, so what do we need to get to go to school?". And then they decide who Will be responsible for what.
No yelling, calm and loving. Of Course, she knows this cannot happen with every interaction, but start small. Aim for one or two a day. Then aim for %70 percent a day. I did it today, and the difference was amazing.
5. Try to give choices, when possible. But you need to be OK with both choices. So do not say "Do you want to go to school, or not?" Say " we can leave now or in 5 minutes".
6. If they choose neither,(IE which shirt would like like, red or blue" and they say "NO!) then say "well, it looks like I will need to choose for you.
7. Acknowledge their feelings. "I see you really want chocolate milk, I wish we had some. What other choice could you make?". Instead of "I told you we don't have any, stop whining about it" (I have actually said this)
8. If you are right in the middle of a stressful situation (this is for you, Mary-Mia) and feel like you are going to loose it, calmly say "Mommy needs a time out". and remove yourself. you could also say to the crying child "I can see that you are upset, but I don't know why, and that is frustrating for me"
9. She says that we praise our kids too much and that they learn to depend on what other people will think. She is into "encouragement instead. Here is the difference.
Good Job You tried really hard
You re' so smart You can figure things out for yourself
be careful That is really high, but I know you can do it.
The key is to be specific and make it about how they are doing, instead of random praise.
Anyway, that is the short version, I hope it helps. I am looking forward to reading the book, but today already felt so much more peaceful at our house so far!