Saturday, June 23, 2012

Silent Signals

A silent signal is one of the most simple and yet rewarding tools. I started this tool when my oldest son was almost 3-years old. It began when I would get frustrated with him and would raise my voice and get really stern with him.

As most of us knowwe always feel horrible and guilty after we’ve raised our voicesknowing that we could’ve handled it better (if only we hadn’t flipped our lids).

I’m always talking about how important it is to model the behavior we expect from our children. Once againeasier said than done. The absolute worst feeling is when I hear my older talking or yelling at his younger brother. It’s ridiculous and embarrassing knowing that he is speaking that way because of how I spoke to him.

After feeling like a horrible Mother, I explained to Greyson that I didn’t want to be a screaming Meany Mommy. I asked him if we could come up with a silent signal to help remind me to take deep breathes and calm down. I went on to share with him that I always wanted to be able to speak to him in the same respectful tone that I expect from him.

Greyson came up with the idea that he would touch his nose to remind me that I needed to calm down and take some deep breaths. I assured him that it was a brilliant signal and then asked him if I could do the same one if and when he wasn’t speaking in a calm tone.

Naturally, it was only a few days later that Greyson had the opportunity to use his silent signal with me; and, of course, it worked like a gem. I immediately stopped to take a few deep breaths, gave him a hug, and then got down to to speak to him at eye level.  All the things I should’ve done originally.

Another silent signal we use in our family is putting our hand over our heart. This signal expresses that we’re having a “flash” which means a surge of love in our heart. These are moments of deep gratitude and appreciation for that person. This is a silent signal that I learned from my childhood and I’m delighted to continue this signal with my family today J

Monday, June 4, 2012


This is an article I wrote almost three years ago that shares one of my favorite hugs success stories. Over the last five years I have realized how important and effective giving hugs ALWAYS is.

Most often it is one of my boys that will remind me that all they need is a hug. This story is a reminder that even when we may not be ready--it's a Positive Discipline tool that works every time.

 My two boys (Greyson, three-years-old, and Reid, one-year-old) took one of our late night strolls around the block.  We came upon a neighbor’s house where there were all kinds of kids playing.  Greyson was fascinated by all the different activities going on.  There were kids from all different age groups playing basketball, catch, riding on a scooter etc.  So we stopped for about 5 minutes talking and watching them. 
It started getting dark and cold, Reid started getting fussy, and I started to feel a little awkward just standing in front of this neighbor’s house while Greyson watched the “people.”  When I told Greyson that it was time to go, he was not ready.  He wanted to stay and watch the people.
I logically explained to him all the reasons of why we needed to go.  After asking him the second time and him still refusing, I told him that he had a choice.  He could either walk with me or hold my hand, or I would pick him up and carry him away…either way we were leaving. 

Of course he did not want to hold my hand, but his brother was in the Bjorn so I firmly grabbed his had and said it was time to go.  What I wanted to do was drag him like a rag doll; especially because I felt like e was ignoring me and not listening…and I was going to show him who was boss and how annoyed I was.

So as I was firmly holding his hand, he started crying/screaming at the top of his lungs. (Greyson has always had the loudest most ear piercing cry of any other child I or anyone else has ever encountered). Of course one of my neighbors was walking her dog and looking at me as if I just beat him…and from the sound of his cry it sounded like I had.

I was desperately trying to be calm and to ignore his crying and to let him have his feelings, but we were both just getting more upset.  I knew what to do, but did NOT want to do it. However, at the risk of embarrassing myself with the rest of the neighbors, I got down to his level and told him I needed a hug. 

Naturally he immediately fell into my armswilling and loving to give me a hug back. Instantly we both felt better and the crying stopped. I explained to him that we needed to go and he explained to me that he wanted to watch the people. Then we all walked home together.

The moral of this story is that as much as I knew it would work to give him a hug when we were both feeling upset, I didn’t feel like giving him a hug. I  too was mad for not getting my way. 

Giving a hug in the middle of a temper tantrum, once again is easier said than done. However, after hugging, we both felt betterand behaved better.