We are now at the end of week 2 of my intentional, focused training time with our son Daniel. Over the last two days he has been feeling a little off colour with a head cold. He has played – sometimes with his sister but a lot of the time by himself – at a spare table with is Lego. This is amazing! Two weeks ago he wandered around the house doing nothing (and I mean nothing) he wasn’t focusing, he wasn’t thinking, he wasn’t being creative. What has happened?
The main area where he was argumentative and complaining was when he asked if he could watch a video or have some computer time. This was the core issue and I know that the more I allowed him to argue, and to win his arguments the weaker my authority became in his eyes. This meant that he was challenging me in other areas as well.
The number one thing I have changed is that he is not allowed to ask me to watch a video or go on the computer – that is my decision, I will allow those things to happen if it is right. There have been consequences if he asks.
Initially he received about 8 consequences (Reflective Time Out) a day. This quickly dropped to about 3 a day and we stayed at that point for a while. During this time he would come up to me, get my attention and then excuse himself (he had remembered he wasn’t to ask). If he did ask, he would give himself his sit-time as his consequence before I could even speak – his heart was getting involved! The last few days he has asked once at the beginning of the day when I have reminded him that those are my decisions and he is not to ask.
Reflective Time Out – though this often happens in our house before a “crime” has actually been committed (it helps them calm down and focus on the choices they are about to make) this has worked for us in the after affect as well. I have been getting Daniel to sit right where we are. This has been important for me because it means it is being dealt with right then and there, helping me to stay with the training of Boot Camp. At the end of a time (he thinks I’m watching a clock whereas I am really watching his heart) he is to come to me, talk about what he did wrong, why it was wrong and ask for forgiveness. This may seem like an over the top type of expectation for the “crime” but when you ask for forgiveness you have to acknowledge your wrong, and you are showing your willingness to walk right. This process helps the children own their choices/behaviour.
To be fair to Daniel I have had to be prepared with activities that would replace his desire to watch the TV. This is actually an important observation – we were fighting his desire as most times when he asked he was told no he couldn’t watch tv. So we weren’t breaking the habit of watching but rather the habit of wanting to watch. This had to be replaced with a desire to be creative, to be productive.
Interesting thing happened to him last night – Friday night – our family movie night. As soon as he was given the freedom to discuss what movie we would watch with his sister, he lost all focus, he just wanted – he knew when movie time was, it was just a lack of focus on anything else – he just wanted. I actually pointed this out to him and he managed to go and do something productive with his time. This showed me what a grip these desires have on him.
Though this is the last report for this Boot Camp I know I still need to be diligent and consistent with training this little boy. My goals for him for the next week will be to continue to watch his responses to my authority – we may have igniting a desire to be creative but that needs to be protected and feed.