We made a quick trip to Seattle to meet with the therapist who is going to be working with our sweet Dimples. She is a wonderful, gifted woman who gave us hours of her time to get us started. She had many great insights about children affected by trauma. She also gave us a number of practical tools to begin implementing at home. We will travel back to see her with Dimples next week.
I am in the midst of a messy project, but this post has been rattling around for a week and I need to get it out of my head and onto my blog.
So here I am thinking more about the teachings of Dr. Karyn Purvis. In my earlier post on correction, I wrote about the IDEAL response: Immediate, Direct, Efficient, Action-based, and Level. In her lecture she went into detail about how to respond Efficiently when correcting a child. I’ll try to summarize some of what she said here.
First, we need to match our response to the behavior of the child. Dr. Purvis talks about using a tone of “playful engagement”. Imagine it as being lighthearted, and responding to the child with a twinkle in your eye. For example, if my child says, “Give me a cookie!” Dr. Purvis would tell me to playfully respond, “Are you asking me or telling me?” Most kids will probably sheepishly reply that they are asking, which I would follow with, “Let me hear you ask that again using respect.”
Second, if the child still isn’t responding, I then give them two choices. Dr. Purvis says to hold up two fingers and clearly offer two options, for example I might say, “You may not have a cookie right now because lunch is in ten minutes, but you may choose an apple, or wait until lunch time to eat.”
At this point, I hope the child will choose what I have offered, but if things are ramping up and beginning to move out of control, I will direct the child to our “Think it Over” spot, which in my house is the “ugly chair” in the family room next to the kitchen. Dr. Purvis says to remain no more than 6 – 8 ft. away. I tell my child that when they are calm and ready to talk to me, they can say “Ready” and I will be right there to talk with them.
When that happens, we then have a “do over” and I have the child come back to the kitchen, or where ever we were when the initial request was made and I have them do it again. I answer, giving them the two choices and they have an opportunity to answer respectfully. The child may choose not to have a snack, and that is fine too, but the process is done in a calm manner with respect.
Dr. Purvis also says:
Use the fewest words necessary to make your point clear to the child – no more than twelve.
This is not easy – I assure you that Russ and I regularly have to remind each other of this. We whisper the cue “few words” to each other as a reminder.
I am definitely not doing justice to Dr. Purvis’ teaching, and feel a bit sheepish sharing what I am learning. Keep in mind that I am writing from the notes that I took while watching her lectures. Overall, I hope I am giving you a taste of her wisdom and that you will take advantage of the online lectures and her book, The Connected Child, as you are able.
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