Monday, January 31, 2011

Stopping Marital Tantrums

After I wrote the last posting about toddler tantrums, it occurred to me that adult tantrums are just the same, and can be handled in much the same manner.

Think about it. When you fight with your spouse or friend, the root cause is that you don't feel that they heard, understand, or care about your feelings. Now we don't have power to change the other person, but the change can start with us.

The next time you find yourself part of a tantrum (fight) step back emotionally and think, "the reason they are yelling is because they want me to hear them." Then LISTEN!!! You don't have to agree, but you do need to listen and try to understand their point of view. Repeat back to them what you understood their needs/concerns to be. This gives them a chance to fully get out the details or clarify when you may not fully understand something.

*True story:
There are times when DH and I can get a little tense over something. There have been times where he said something and the way it came off hurt. (It could've been that I was just being super sensitive.) My reaction used to be to either go on the defensive or just clam up. He would ask for another chance to clarify, reassuring me that he would never hurt me on purpose. Now when this happens I say, "Do you want to clarify that," or, "That hurt me, do you want to try again?" I do this, because I really do want to understand what he is saying and I don't want to leave the conversation feeling hurt!

How do you diffuse tense times in your marriage or other relationships?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Stopping Toddler Tantrums

Here is the fastest way I know of stopping a toddler's tantrum. Get down to their eye level, tell them they need to talk like a big boy/girl so you can understand them, then repeat what they say to you - stating it in a question form.

Here is an example of little Johnny wanting a treat at the store:

Johnny screaming...
Mom: Johnny, you need to stop screaming and talk like a big kid so I can understand you.
Johnny still screaming...
Mom: Johnny, I can't understand you when you scream like that. You need to stop crying so I can understand you. (Keep repeating that until they calm down. Sometimes helping them with deep breathing will help too.)
Johnny, starts to calm down and says: I want candy.
Mom: You want that candy?
J: Yes
M: That candy looks really yummy doesn't it? (Johnny nods). We can't get candy today though. It is almost lunch time and we need to eat healthy things.
J: Starts up again.
M: I know you really want that candy, but we can't get it. Here do you want to play with this toy (or eat this other snack, or sing a song, etc.)? (Direct their attention to something else.)

We all want to be listened to and understood. Children do too. They just don't have the vocabularies or control to do it nicely so they scream until they feel like they are heard. Now it doesn't mean that they can/should get whatever they want, but they do need to feel like we at least understand.

Now, what if they don't stop? This is where you give them options. Let's go back to the story....

Johnny starts screaming again....
Mom: Johnny, I know you really want that candy, but screaming isn't appropriate.
Still screaming...
Mom: Johnny, you will want to stop crying because you are going to want to hear the choices I am going to give you. You can calm down and eat this yummy snack I brought, or if you keep screaming I will take you home right now, and put you straight into your bed for a nap and you won't get stories. What do you want?
Johnny: I want candy.
Mom: I know you do, but that is not one of your choices. (Repeat choices)
Johnny refuses to choose.
Mom: If you don't choose, I will choose for you. If you keep screaming we will go home right now and you will go striaght to bed.

With the choices, I always present what I want them to choose and spin it to look as good as possible for them. Then with the other choice, I make it so that it won't be fun at all. They usually choose the first option.

However, they will push this to see if you will follow through so make sure you do. It will only take a few times for them to learn that you mean business and tantrums will be so much easier to deal with. If you don't follow through, they will learn that you are weak and they will start to push you around and they will scream louder until you cave in.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Three Dangerous Words

There are three little words that can do big damage to a person's finances: I - deserve - it. Many people who deserve many things. It doesn't mean that they can afford them or that they get them.

It's not just big things that we justify with these words either. Pay attention to how many purchases you make using this phrase. It can be as small as a treat at the store. But usually it isn't the huge purchases that kill a budget. It is the culmination a many small ones. (The big ones don't help either. :)

I am not immune to these three little words. They creep into my thinking too. But I am trying to replace them with, "You really can afford it" or "We saved up for it". I also try to keep in mind what are really needs and what are just wants.

**True story: I love to soak in the shower. Lately I have been soaking more because I am so worn out from all the kiddos. DH has been noticing that the water and heating bills have gone up, and I know exactly why.

The other day I was soaking in the shower. I thought, wow, I have been in here a while. Then I thought, "But I DESERVE it". I couldn't believe that I thought that, and I had just written this post!! Then I thought, "Yes if anyone deserves a long hot shower it is me. But can I AFFORD it?" The answer to that was no. So off the shower went. I am planning on putting a timer in there so that I will have to get out to turn it off.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Family Motto

Recently we have been establishing family mottos. These are statements about who we are and what we do. We try to keep them powerful, general, and few so that they will cover many aspects of our lives. Here are our two:

We do hard things.
We follow what Jesus wants us to do.

So many aspects of life are hard. I hear all the time, "But that is so harrrrd!" and I reply, "Yep, and we do hard things." This can cover homework, life skills, piano practicing, working on friendships when they are rocky, standing up for what we believe, etc.

Along with life, we are a very Christ centered family. We have high standards for modestly dressing, listening to uplifting music, being kind to others, going to church, serving others, no sex before marriage, no drinking, smoking, drugs, etc, etc. We do these things because we believe Jesus wants us to. But instead of stating a rule for each thing, we can just say, "What does Jesus want you to do?"

It is amazing at how powerful these are, and how they help drive our lives. I would love to hear what your family mottos are and how they help you!

Friday, January 21, 2011

School Lunch

Have you ever seen the movie Food Inc.? If you have, you will never want to eat meat again, or let your kids eat school lunch. Packing is so much healthier and economical (if you lay off the convenience snack foods.)

I will admit however that it is way easier to write a check and just let the kiddos eat at school. We were getting into that routine. It was the DH that finally took this area over and got us back on track. (Love that man!)

So this is how we/he runs it. The DDs are allowed to buy school lunch once a week. They get to choose the day. However, if they pack everyday for one whole week then he pays them $1. Our lunch bill has gone way down, and surprisingly the DDs don't complain about packing.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Routine Badges - a follow up

This morning DD3 (who is 4) didn't want to get ready for preschool. DH was pretty frustrated and came to me to "get her to do it." I said to him, "Tell her she needs to do the things on her routine badge." She didn't even realize that she was getting ready for preschool but was just following her routine. Fight diffused, goal accomplished. Love it!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Flying Solo

So my house cleaner quit yesterday. I'm usually not a crier, but I did after she left. DH and I have decided before we commit to another cleaner we (and the DDs) are going to try to clean the house ourselves.

I pulled out my FLY Lady book and Control Journal and am going to try to make it work again. (I can't seem to get the hang of her system, but I am determined to tweak it to fit us.)

Anyway, I am learning that the only constant in life is change. Goodbye Beth, thank you, and good luck with your new journey.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Routine Badges

So I have a few new best friends. Timers and Routine Badges. I was so tired of having to constantly remind the DDs of what they should be doing. So I made routine cards with both am and pm sides, and times alloted for each thing. Both the routine badges and the timers I have can be clipped to their jeans. So they put in the time, press start, and I let the timers yell at them to keep moving.

They were really wonderful at the beginning, then the excitement waned. I had one morning where they were running so late. I gave them a good drilling and told them that the routine cards were there so that I wouldn't have to ride them. They agreed the routines were better and now are still on track.

Notice how on DD3's she has pictures? Yep, can't read that well yet. Also, they have a Boyer team item. That is where I can give them any chore like laundry, bathroom, food prep, etc. They put these on first thing in the am and first thing when they get home. Yet another thing my DH says was a stroke of brilliance! :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Raising Daughters = Lots of $ for Gas

Took DD1 with me tonight to run a short errand. I knew it would be a great opportunity for just her and I to talk, and it was. We ended up sitting in the driveway with the car running (to keep us warm) for about 40 minutes. I am finding that raising girls takes a lot of talking time, and it looks like my personal office is turning out to be our car. (It is the only place where I don't get disturbed.)

I found out her friends think I am weird for the following reasons: We have a house cleaner and yet the girls still have to clean their room and bathroom. We don't have cable t.v. and screen time is closely monitored. I also found out that some of her friends don't like me because their moms have started to make them work after talking to me about how we do chores.

I got such a kick out of that and I think it is awesome! It means I'm doing my job.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Emergency Preparedness - Water Bottles

This year we are determined to get our 72 hour kits together. We have been talking about it for years now, but this is the year it is going to happen. We are taking it one thing at a time, but I thought I would bring you all along for the ride so that you can get yours together too.

Yesterday I ordered filtration water bottles for every member of our family from this link Look under the Home and Family section and hit the link for Self Reliance. They are the Seychelle water filtration bottle kit. You won't find a better price on these anywhere else. I looked.

Having these bottles will make it so we don't need to haul around as much heavy water or make room for it in our packs. Of course, we live in a place where there are rivers and streams everywhere so this is a good option for us. We also have a Katadyn back packing filter pump so that we can pump larger amounts of water for cooking.

Marcus and I are going to keep a case of water in our cars and we will still keep a few full water bottles in our packs as well.

Monday, January 10, 2011

PF Changs has nothing on these

With a stroke of brilliance I have won the salad fight with the DDs!! Yes, I invented the "Salad Wrap" and now my kids can't get enough salad! No kidding DD3 will eat 12 of these (the equivalent of 6 full romaine leaves) and they are the first thing she asks for during dinner.
Whole Romaine Lettuce Leaves rinsed
Whole Spinach Leaves rinsed
Anything else you want to sneak into their mouths
Dressing of your choice

Rip the lettuce away from the main stem of the leaf (romaine). Then pile 3-4 spinach leaves at one end. Put one crouton on top of the spinach. Place small dab of dressing and roll it up.
I have found they are also a good way for me to eat a lot of salad w/out a lot of dressing. It is also a great way to sneak spinach into their diets. I showed you the container that I use to store the lettuce. It is by Lock and Lock and has a slotted bottom insert to allow water to drain away from the lettuce. (One job the DDs do is to rinse the leaves for dinner.)