Tips Stolen from the Kids’ Therapist #2 [Do-overs]

The holidays are coming, and with the fun, stress also rises. We may need to dig deep to keep ourselves regulated along with our kids. Today, I’m talking about Do-overs for grown-ups.

Over the years, Russ and I sat through many therapy sessions with our kids.  While the knowledge we gained continues to be invaluable for our kids, there are unexpected gifts for us – insights and skills we use to heal, cope, and manage our own relationships and lives.

This post is the second in the series Tips Stolen From the Kids’ Therapist.

DSC_0210small

Don’t miss:

Tip #1 This feeling won’t last forever

Tip #2 Even grown-ups need Do-overs

One of my favorite tools for parenting kids, and especially kids from “hard places,” is the Do-over, or the Re-do, (depending on who is teaching).

The basic concept is to give a child the opportunity to quickly correct a behavior making better choices the second time around. When the child tries again and has success, the brain literally begins to form new pathways that become stronger as this positive behavior is repeated time and time again.

Let me give you a simple example, that of course, would never happen at my house.

A child storms in the front door, throws a backpack on the floor, rushes past mom (lightly bumping into her) with no greeting or eye contact, opens the refrigerator and yells, “I’m hungry!”

Mom says, “Wow! Slow down a minute. Let’s try that again. How about a Do-over and then I’ll help you get a snack? Grab your backpack and let’s go back to the front door.” (Mom keeps a light, playful tone.)

If the child is receptive, they repeat coming in the door again with a big (maybe even silly) greeting, hanging up the backpack, and mom offering an extra good snack. When it’s done well, Mom says, “Way to go, you did such a great job, I’m really proud of you. Let’s eat a snack together.”

In The Connected Child, Dr. Purvis writes,

By actively replacing misbehavior with correct behavior in your child’s memory banks, you can help the child encode competency.  A re-do “erases” the muscle memory of the failed behavior and gives the child the physical and emotional experience of substituting a successful one in its place.

And,

A re-do can be as simple or complex as needed.  As many doors as it took your child to go off course, that’s how many you have to revisit and correct each false step.  The Connected Child p. 98

If re-do’s are good for kids, they’re good for adults too.

Two examples quickly come to mind.

One is the type of morning when nothing is going right, I’m irritable and snapping at the kids. I know I need to pull myself out of the downward spiral, but it’s just so hard to do. That’s when I need to step into my laundry room whisper a prayer, take a few deep breaths, walk back out and start over again. Sometimes I even tell my kids I need a do-over.

Another example happens in communication. Not long ago I said something to Russ, and as soon as I did, I realized the way I said it and the words I chose, were going to take us down a path I did not intend. As the words left my mouth, and I saw the expression on his face,  there was a moment of silence between us.

It was just long enough, I jumped in, “Let me try that again. It was not what I meant to say or the way I meant to say it.” I went on to choose my words and tone more carefully. Rather than repairing a bigger problem, I was able to quickly correct it with a Do-over, which saved us a lot of time and energy.

There are many examples of this in my life, and I’m guessing in yours too.

Do you use Do-overs? With your kids? With your husband?

What are some of the best tips you learned from your kids’ therapy sessions or from parenting books, etc. you apply to yourself?


How was your weekend? Annarose had a dinner party Friday night for 40 friends, which grew to 60 later in the evening. It snowed so much that Russ had to pull some kids out of precarious places on the driveway and then plow the driveway with the tractor so they could all safely leave.

We went to a very nice Christmas party for foster families on Saturday and came home with presents for the six youngest kids.

It snowed all weekend, which was good and bad.

Russ was supposed to leave for Oregon on Saturday, but the interstate was closed. Then he was leaving Sunday, but it kept snowing and there were issues with the trailer, and in the end, he couldn’t leave. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to enjoy having him home much because he was loading the trailer, working on problems with it, and preparing to leave all weekend. Despite that, I’m very thankful he didn’t drive on snowy roads – we need him.

Now he’s home for a couple of unexpected days so we may get our Christmas tree, which will make us all very happy.

How was your weekend? Don’t forget to tell me  your best tips stolen for the kids’ therapist!

Have a great Monday, friends.

Lisa

Portrait-small

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

13 Comments

  1. Michele
    December 12, 2016

    My favorite comes from our therapist using 2 Corinthians 10:5. She taught us to use this during high anxiety moments that can spin him down a spiral very quickly. By “taking every thought captive” and then examining it to see if it is in “obedience of Christ”. For him because he is a sports fanatic, we used the imagery of catching a baseball (thought), then stopping to examine it and if in is not in line with Christ then throwing it as hard and as far as he could. We did this exercise so often together that I find myself using it during my high anxiety times.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      December 12, 2016

      That is awesome; I love it! I’m going to try it with my boys.

      Reply
  2. Kate
    December 12, 2016

    This is a good one — I have had many of those same moments asking my husband to let me have a do-over!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      December 12, 2016

      I’m so glad this one speaks to you, Kate.

      Reply
  3. Sheila
    December 12, 2016

    Love the do-over, it really does help reinforce the habits we’re trying to instill while keeping the mood light (most of the time)! And, yes, it’s works for mommas, too 🙂

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      December 13, 2016

      Thanks, Sheila!

      Reply
  4. Alyssa Van Den Elzen
    December 13, 2016

    My son’s OT therapist is using 2 great programs with him and we are incorporating them at home as well– “Turnaround” addressing anxiety in kids and The Unthinkables- emotional and social skills. They have given us the language in common where now we all say things like I have “Rockbrain” when being inflexible or “Glassman” when falling to pieces over something. The phrase” the right amount of energy for the situation” using the scale of Tigger (high energy) Pooh Bear (in the middle) and Eeyore (low energy). Also asking “How big is the problem?” in order to have the appropriate response to it. Getting down lower than your child. A playful voice. And Re-dos are awesome!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      December 14, 2016

      So many great ideas, Alyssa! Thank you. My next post is “Is this a big problem or a little problem.” I love “rockbrain” and “glassman” and I would like to know more about “turnaround” and The unthinkables. Having words to communicate our feelings and experiences is just do helpful.

      Reply
  5. Alyssa Van Den Elzen
    December 14, 2016

    Here are a couple links:

    https://www.turnaroundanxiety.com/

    https://www.socialthinking.com/Search%20Results#q=superflex

    (the unthinkables are characters in this program)

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      December 15, 2016

      Thank you!

      Reply
  6. Luann
    December 19, 2016

    I am loving this series on Tips. Thank you for sharing them. I love when we can use the lessons we’ve learned in one area and apply them to another. The past week I have been having some BIG feelings, some LITTLE problems, and have been in need of many Do Overs….because we finally got the call we’ve been waiting 3 years for…COURT in Addis! A positive letter from MOWA, and COURT! So thrilled…except Court is on Dec. 27. So we have to be gone on Christmas. And we’re not bringing our 5-year-old. With only one child currently, you can only imagine the amount of co-dependency my son and I share. 🙂 The guilt, the anxiety of int’l travel, the stress of not knowing outcomes (our kiddos are from Tigray–which makes things super complicated b/c they no longer allow ICA)… Lots of deep breaths. 🙂 <3
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, and I look forward to more tips in the coming weeks.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      December 19, 2016

      Oh wow, Luann! That is a big, big deal. Wow! And at Christmas too. Many blessings to you. I can’t wait to hear all about it.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *