Friday, June 5, 2009

Toddler counter insurgency efforts

Some days I feel like it is gorilla warfare around here. Just when I feel that I am holding the battle lines or even making some headway a new battle front opens up or they retake a once won land. Like when I hear a scream then one comes running in saying so and so bite me! Or when they won't go to time out when you tell them to. Oh well, all is fair in love and war right:)

So lately I figure if it works for the military it should work for me... I have had a "surge" of my own. Now I ask them to do it, anything, one time. If they don't do it they go to time out. To be fair I make sure that they hear me and know what I am asking. I am not unrealistic about saying something while there is a melee going on with all three screaming. If they don't go to time out they get a "free upgrade" in their punishment. That may mean a toy also goes to its own time out or there might be a tactile reminder. I don't raise my voice (95% of the time) I just keep the same tone and say everything as a matter of fact.

I often times remind them that I will not lie to them. If I say it is going to happen, it is going to happen. This is one of my management tools (tricks) from my previous life. There are two main ones I used and still use. I know the Triplets probably don't understand it yet but they will one of these days.
  • Tool #1 - Always talk about "perceptions." It is not that you are lazy, stupid, unethical, mean, etc... but that you give the perception that you are. Then I ask "is that the perception you want others to have of you?" Who in their right mind is going to say yes? This one is still in my arsenal as it would be way over their heads right now.
  • Tool #2 - I do not want to lie to you. When I tell them an expectation I also tell them the consequence for not meeting that expectation. Side note, expectations are different than goals. Goals stretch you expectations are minimum requirements. So if they do not meet my expectation if I do not follow through on the consequence that would make me a liar. Who in their right mind would want someone to lie to them:) OK, maybe if someone asks you "do these jeans make me look fat?" when the honest answer is "it's not the jeans." :)
Tool #2 is coming up more and more as the Triplets, William especially, are learning how to lie. Did you hit so and so? he says "no" when I saw him do it. As our preacher says before he had kids he talked about how honest, sweet and good hearted children are. Now he knows they will look you right in the eye and lie like a dog. I am working on teaching them that there are a few major rules in life they need to learn early and keep in mind. Maybe I need to start a white board with them.
  • Rule #1 - No good deed goes unpunished.
  • Rule #2 - You get in more trouble for lying about something or covering it up then you do for what you did. Think Clinton. If he had just said "yep, I did it and it was a huge mistake" then not much would have been made of it.
So much to teach and so little time. Now if I can just understand the rules and that others use those same tools on me:)

One of the Triplets' favorite things to do is put pennies down the funnels at our frequent destinations. Here we were at Sci Quest in Huntsville with Mimi.

The conventional definition of management is getting work done through people, but real management is developing people through work. Agha Hasan Abedi


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