I highly recommend this Howard Glasser book if you’re going through any rough spots with your kids: All Children Flourishing–Igniting the Greatness of our Children.
A friend turned me on to it after some recent challenges, and man, does it rock. We’re just begun to implement his suggestions and have already seen some major shifts around here.
So what’s his schtick? Basically, Glasser talks about how kids will connect with us in any way they can, even if the only way they can do that is to get out of us is a rise (or piss us off) by acting out or doing something naughty. So he turns the game on its head by refusing to buy into that negative “difficult” child kind of energy. Instead, he helps us see how giving our children specific, positive feedback nourishes children’s souls instead of crushing them.
The old model–punishing them or constantly putting them in time-outs–doesn’t work anyway. So what do we have to lose? And it’s an easy win, I have to tell you, one we accomplish by letting our children know that we see and appreciate them for who they are, instead of for the “bad kid” we once believed them to be.
In this way, we get to connect with our kids in a magical, new way. His approach reminds us of how special and unique our children really are–how special we all are, really. And since we’re no longer feeding into the misbehavior and the associated negative traits, they begin to disappear.
Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? It is, as long as you’re willing to take those few extra seconds to really connect with your child. But man, alive, is it worth it.
So worth it, in fact, that the friend who recommended this book to me even uses it at her job–to great success. Which of course makes me think we could use this approach with our spouses as well. Not to mention friends, neighbors, coworkers, strangers, the UPS driver, etc.
By the way, there’s even a special version of this book geared toward educators. If you’re a teacher, please please do me a favor and check out this book. I think it could just change your life. Not to mention the lives of all the kids you impact, particularly those who’ve long been considered “difficult.”