Monday, June 21, 2010

How to Get Over an Old Flame and Other Strategies of My Former Life Strangely Applicable to My Mommy Reality (aka Crowding Out)

Like I posted previously, there are a lot of things in NurtureShock that got me thinking.One of the chapters I have thought about the most is the one on siblings and why they get along…or not. One of the things that struck me was that the smart money seems to be on the researcher who is focusing on getting kids to have more positive experiences together—not the ones worrying about breaking up their fights and teaching them how to finesse their diplomatic relations. It brings me to one of my general observations of romantic breakups and moving on: it’s hard to get over a guy until there is someone else in the picture. It need not be someone truly feasible…but someone at least to set your sights on. I am shockingly bad at getting rid of old habits, not eating and anything else that smacks of deprivation. But I think my approach may be rooted in some sound principles: it makes a lot more sense to focus on increasing the positive than eliminating the negative. When dieting, I favor consuming large numbers of baby carrots. Sure, they have a lot of sugar in them, but they are *really* good for you. And if you’re full of baby carrots, you’re a lot less likely to eat that whole cheesecake.

So I’m trying to use my insights from the world of food and boys as broadly as possible to see how far I can push it. Now that all my kids are home for the summer, I’m trying my hand on them. Part of it is a question of memory: helping them remember and review the good that’s gone before so that they can (I hope) repeat it more often in the future. I’m not working so much at eliminating the negative as increasing the positive. So, today, when someone actually requested something politely with the right tone of voice, I had her repeat it--several times, to my rapturous oohs and ahhs. When the kids fight, I’m reminding them of all the kind things they’ve done for each other lately. When they fight again (as long as blood isn’t involved), I’m telling them to see if they can come up with a solution in the hopes that they’ll see how they can work together to have more fun, rather than getting stymied every time they disagree.

So far, I think it works. Sometimes. Which in my book, counts as success.

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