So now we've heard about the problem, but what about the solution. The CD was turned off just as Payne was about to outline a different model. Ugh! I want to know the "Right Way", and I want it now!
But frustration - or more generally, identifying the problem - is the first step, and that's all we were trying to do. We now have 3 weeks to watch our parenting patterns, see what works and what doesn't, recognize our own triggers, revisit ourselves and our children through a new lens. By the time we come together to hear Kim John Payne's ideas, we'll be listening with a keener ear and open heart, and with thousands of little insights arising out of the frustration. We'll probably have stumbled across some new ideas to share even before the "expert" CD clicks on.
Frustration aside, it was a lovely gathering, with two powerful moments for me. The first was reflecting on how Ruth so effectively manages the KG classroom with expectation rather than questioning language ("We'll be cleaning the table now"), but when some parents use the same phrasing it still comes out as a question and is shrugged off the same way by the children. The difference is in the confidence and genuine expectation of the adult, regardless of the words used. When we are strong in ourselves, not bluffing or hoping or pleading, the children listen and respond (more often, at least).
"If you ask for their compliance now, you'll be pleading for it later." - Kim John Payne
A minute after this lightbulb went off for me, one mother shared her beautiful story that affirmed the whole lesson.
"Yesterday we had a wonderful morning, got out to the car on time with no complaints. Then the dog was too tired from the weekend hiking to get in the car, and my daughter had a meltdown. She wasn't going to school, wasn't getting in the car, she hated me. I told her we were going now and started the car. She got in, but still hated me and wasn't going to get out at the parking lot.
When we arrived I got out and calmly said that I was going to the classroom. She stayed until I was about to turn the corner of the building, then ran to catch up. But she wasn't going to go into the classroom. I said goodbye at the line-up, then turned and walked back toward the car. I had a friend walk with me and look back for me, to see that she was greeting the teacher and heading inside.
At the end of the day she told me she'd had an awful day. But not because of being forced to go to school. Because she didn't get her hug and kiss goodbye. I'd set a strong boundary and she was thankful for it."