I was sent this article earlier and found it very interesting. Patty Wipfler, of the non-profit organization Hand in Hand, recommends becoming a "Vigorous Snuggler" when your children are "caught up in a behavior that isn't working for them or you." Upon the first read, I was a bit skeptical. How does making light of the times your child is not listening to you or doing (or not doing) what you have requested beneficial? Don't they need to know that you are serious? And who has the time to get into a snuggle-fest each time your kid doesn't listen?
But then I tried the approach with my own 3-year-old this morning who has gotten into the habit of whining and making the same request over and over and over, regardless of how many times and how stern I give her the answer.
Following is a recap of our usual breakfast conversation.
Me: "Do you want crunchy cereal for breakfast or toast with peanut butter?" (Note: using two choice option, which I've come to learn doesn't necessarily always work).
Lindsay: "I want you to decide."(spoken in whiny voice)
Me: "OK, I choose toast with peanut butter."
Lindsay: "Nooooo....I don't want toast with peanut butter." (spoken in even whiner voice)
Sound familiar? Then you probably know how the rest of this goes.
But this morning when I asked her what she wanted and she said "You decide" I got down to her level, I "snuggled" her in my arms and and in a funny and light-hearted voice gave her three choices, one of which was a bowl of mud with flies on top. She immediately started laughing and said, "Ewwww...that would be yucky." And then she proceeded to quickly make her choice between the two non-yucky options.
Maybe it was just a fluke this morning. But I'll tell you something, I found myself enjoying the morning much more with her after that interaction. The Vigorous Snuggler concept encourages parents to have a bit more fun in their parenting, lighten-up and see that sometimes you can get the results you want by choosing a communication style that better resonates with children.
If you try this yourself, please share you comments!