April 16, 2016
The Power of Positive Parenting
So...we have now been in Utah for nearly a year (can't believe that! We are still getting used to being here) and in that year our Lucky Dragon has changed so much. He is taller, thinner and looks more like a boy than a toddler now compared to when we arrived. His intellectual skills have grown in leaps and bounds as children do between the ages of 1 and 3.
We have to consciously make a plan on what we are going to work with him during the week to keep him learning new things. He has his colors and shapes down so moved to 3D shapes too. Which he learned quickly. The other day we were coming from the grocery store in the car (it was dark) he kept saying, "Help me find my cylinder! I lost my cylinder!" We could not figure out what he was talking about until we realized he was referring to the Tootsie Roll the cashier had given him...it was true it is a cylinder! Haha.
He also recognizes letters and we try to help him with the alphabet as much as possible. Most of all his communication skills have improved drastically. He picks up things so quickly (we have had to start to watch what we say around him because even if we don't think he is listening he will repeat it). He loves to read and we spend hours with him under the tree in his room reading book after book.
He is an extrovert to the truest sense. He loves people (not sure where it gets that...haha). He will wave to people on the street, say hello to people in the store and ask any child around him if they want to be his friend. It makes my heart happy.
Lady Hiva and I have been learning to be parents too. It is not a black and white thing, as all of you know. There are frustrating times, fun times, and the best is when we get hugs and slobbery wet kisses from him. We are constantly trying to help him develop into the best little guy he can be. Whether it is a Family Home Evening lesson about sharing and being kind, or taking time to explain something he is curious about it is fun to see the world through his eyes.
We had someone tell us when we first moved here about positive parenting. (Sounds really granola and yuppy). Positive parenting is cutting out words like don't, can't and other similar chiding words. Kids are constantly learning and want to know where the boundaries are, but if they only hear angry words of what they can't do, they think being negative is the way to work with others.
Now, before, you get worried. This does NOT mean we do not correct him, nor does it mean we are those parents that just let our children run amok either. It means that instead of focusing on what Tau'aho is doing wrong, we focus on what we want him to do instead--focusing on the correct behavior.
As an example, a simple one, if he is eating and spitting his food out. Instead of saying, "Don't spit your food!" We try to say, "Keep your food in your mouth and chew it." Think about it, as a little person all they hear in the first sentence is "...spit your food." So of course, they are confused. With the second sentence they understand that what we really want is for him to keep his food in his mouth.
This is true of any action we are trying to correct. AND IT IS HARD. I didn't realize how much I say don't, stop, no, or can't until now. We are not perfect, neither is he. However, it makes it all positive communication in the house when we reinforce correct behavior and Tau'aho picks up on the correct actions. So we are learning too...but for the time being we all seem to be pretty good friends.
The next challenge is potty training! Sigh...