January 8, 2009

Responsibilities and consequences

When I let it be, emotionally intelligent parenting is very simple.  This week I've been learning how to let the kids be responsible for their role in our family.  Whether it's chores, putting their toys away, or cleaning up spills, I am giving them my trust.  Natural consequences then, are what happens when someone doesn't do their part.  

Funny Girl, being three, does a lot of  refusing to put her toys away after playing, insisting that I do it.  After a reminder and an offer to work together, I will clean it up myself.  I designated the top of my bookcase for things that I pick up.  When she asks for it back, I remind her that I expect her to clean up after herself.  I love that there is nothing to argue about.  

We were reading Winnie-the-Pooh before bed tonight, but the girls wouldn't settle down.  They were rolling back and forth over me, so I used the one word approach, "Stop!"  It continued after a few minutes.  I tried a different approach saying, "Rolling over Mommy hurts, it must stop!"  They picked it up again just a minute later so I closed the book and got up.  They were upset, but I calmly said, "Mommy is sore from being rolled on and is now ready for bed."  

My biggest area of improvement is with Robotson.  I find my buttons pushed very easily with him.  Our biggest conflict is over household responsibilities.  I will work with him in the mornings, but the afternoons are for free play.  Neither of us has more than three hours of work to do each day.  I have clearly defined what he is responsible for and we have talked about it.  It's also written down and available whenever he needs a reminder.  I have the hardest time leaving it in his hands, but I am getting there.  I try not to ask him what he has done so far in the day.  Instead, I wait for him to come to me and let me know what is left.  I am also getting better at not answering his questions directly.  He may ask if he can get on the computer and I respond by asking him what is the answer.  If he says he thinks it's o.k., I ask him if he is finished with his work.  I think statements might be better here.  

"We have not read for an hour yet today."
"I see the bathroom has not been wiped down yet."
"The laundry has not been folded and put away. 

Sometimes in the heat of the moment I get so lost.  I'm not sure what on earth I am supposed to do.  Today I went looking for an online support group and I found nothing.  I was telling B how great it would be to bounce a scenario off another parent and get a quick piece of advice.  As it is now, all I can do is send an IM to B at work and see if he is free to give his opinion.  He hasn't even read all of the first book yet though, so it's not always helpful, but he really tries.  I finished another book last week, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.  Every book I read is so helpful and each one has something new to try, or to NOT do.  Some of the examples of typical parent responses in this book were shocking me.  I kept thinking, "Wow, I'd never do that."  Even so, I still have much room for improvement.  I think I need to set up a support group though.


  1. These are interesting posts. This EI parenting sounds rather similar to Love and Logic. I'm curious about how they differ, however.

  2. Let me preface by saying that I have not read any of the Love and Logic books, so my impressions are based only off of reviews, internet searches on the topic, and what others have said to me about it.

    My first "issue", I guess, is from what I've read this approach focuses on treating kids like little adults. One of the biggest things that EI tries to emphasize is that children are quite different from adults. They need to be treated differently (ie better) than adults. I've also had more recommendations for this sort of parenting from religious parents and some reviews talk about the religiousness of the books. I can't really comment on that, but there is no religion that I have seen in any of the books I've read so far.

    Even though I wrote this post earlier this month, I am constantly adapting my ways of doing things as I find out what works best. I've had great success getting the kids to clean up after themselves, mostly with my help, but sometimes not and therefore have all but stopped having to put things up on my bookcase. On the other hand, my son is absolutely rebelling against everything for the last two weeks and I've found myself wanting to pull all of my hair out and wondering if I'll ever get it right. Hah!

    The Love and Logic books are on my list to read, but I still have so many I want to check out by some of these same authors I've been reading, that I am sure it will be awhile. Then I might be able to better say what differences there are. I know the reviews against Love and Logic on Amazon give some pretty good examples of things that are NOT EI in the least. That's all I have to go on for now though.