Sunday, October 08, 2006

Martial arts mothering

I chose a different path as a mother today. I leaned on all of my martial arts training, and I chose to control my opponents rather than to do violence to myself.

I placed my kids on the couch, and calmly put forward my expectations towards chores around the house. I gave them a good amount of awareness of where there is disharmony, and where I want to see improvements. I did not raise my voice ( as was my habit in the past ).

I controled my anger at the awful mess that they had created. Sure.. I was upset, but I placed that as a low priority. Instead, I focused on solving the problem by getting the children motivated to do what I wanted them to do.

I thought of how various manner of pain is used on your opponent to give them incentive to go in the direction that you want them to go. I then provided the children with very good motivation. I assured them that our family will be fasting until the house is in good order. I informed them that I have successfully fasted on just fruit juice for 4 days straight, so I will have no problem fasting for as long as it takes them to clean up their mess. Since I view fasting as a positive energy building, and healing moment for the body, I didn't mind putting my children on such a fast.

I also informed them that I will not touch anything, nor clean anything because at this point, they are to be responsible for the mess that THEY created. None of the mess was from my actions.. therefore I chose not to clean it.

We will see how quickly the house will get clean through the efforts of my children. It has to be clean at MY specifications. Already the dining room, entryway, and living room have been brought to that level. Only 6 more rooms to go.

Me? I am calm, relaxed, and enjoying adding this entry to my blog.



Colin Wee said...

Let see if I can remember my psych 101 ...

You can have:

Postive reinforcement: something that brings them outright joy. This is easy to understand.

Negative Positive: getting more of the outright feeling of joy if they get it right. (for instance, when my son was younger, if he didn't finish what I thought he could because he was distracted, I'd serve him his dessert and start eating it for him. Whenever he finished, he could have the rest)

Negative: something that makes them outright uncomfortable

Positive Negative: removal of something that makes them feel uncomfortable. This is what you'd choose to do if you were working in Guantanamo Bay.

I find that the most powerful thing a parent has is conviction. Without conviction, parenting gets disastrous. Conviction to object oriented behaviour can be understood by children. I am not sure of the long range ramifications, but in good faith I myself lay down rules and communicate them well. If the rules are not followed, people start to lose priveleges.



Anonymous said...

Impressive! I'll have to file that tactic away for future reference.

supergroup7 said...

I really like this list that you have provided, Colin. Thank you.

I especially like the wonderful motivation that the Negative Positive can create. Awesome!

supergroup7 said...

Welcome to my weblog Ana, and thank you for your kind comment.

I wish you the best in your training, and I'll be following your postings on your weblog with deep interest.

lizzie said...

Supergroup, Lol. I'm calm. Not!!!!!

I took psych 101 last year and still have a note about this in my math notebook.

Postive reinforcement: Give something to a child to reinforce their behavior.

Negative reinforcement: The taking away of a stimulus to reinforce the behavior. I can't think of an example right now.

Positive punishment: Adding an undesired stimulus to the evironment that decreases behavior. Like spanking a child when he or she was bad. Or giving children candy if they don't be quiet at the store.

Negative Punishment: Minus a Stimulus to the environment to decrease the behavior. That's what Supergroup did with her children.

[Mat] said...

Good for you, Mireille, good for you.

I'm with Colin. Conviction is the key. I remember having my gf's niece for 12 days at our house. The first day was horrible. Problems eating, a mess everywhere, she was running everywhere, touching everything - including MA gear. My gf was in charge. She kept saying : Don't do that, don't do this, etc.

I got angry.

Dinner time : I looked at her and said : for now on, you have 20 minutes to eat. Look at the clock. When the big arrow gets there, the plate goes. Eaten or not. And dessert? forget about it. She only laughed it off. I said : the sooner you're out of table, the sooner we'll have fun. 20 minutes later, the plate wasn't eaten. barely touched. In the trash! Shouts, screams, crying, for about 20 seconds. Then, I simply said very slowly : you knew that was coming. You don't want that to happen again? Just eat it. If you have enough, tell us. Next meal : breakfast. I hate the dessert too :-)

that did it for 5 days, then, we had to do it again.

My gf thinks I'm too strict. I like to enjoy my meal, instead of telling her to eat everynow and then. Making jokes, enjoying the time we have with her instead of playing big mean police-guy.

For every action there is a consequence, they say. I agree. Good day and enjoy your clean home.

John said...

I can just imagine what kind of a mess we're talking about! Well, it sounds like you succeeded in bringing some of your training philosophy into your home in a positive way. Restraint is tough, even when your dealing with loved ones. Good luck with your familial fast.

supergroup7 said...

Isn't it amazing, Lizzie, how the different fields of study can interact with each other? Psychology can affect karate, and karate can affect our psychology. Ha ha ha

supergroup7 said...

Mat, I'm going to be honest.. I find it easier to control someone else's child than my own children. My kids have observed me for every minute of their existance, and they have learned where my weakest points are.. they have learned what can be used to manipulate, and control. They know how I will react, and they counter it with their own actions developed from years of training. I believe that this is similar to sparring with someone from your dojo for year after year. You get to know each other's habits, traits, weaknesses, and strengths.

supergroup7 said...

The fast worked well, John. The house was all clean by 5 pm. ALL to my specifications. Sure.. we didn't have lunch until 7 pm because I had to cook everything, but the children were very proud of themselves for the clean home that we had.

As with any good technique, you cannot pull it out and use it all the time or your sparring partner will become used to it, and find a way to defend against it.

What makes me happy is the "good" feeling of achievement that the children had at the end of their effort, and then they were rewarded with a very nice meal. That HAS to put some memory into their heads of how important this is!

[Mat] said...

Indeed it has.

I wonder how I'll be with kids of my own :S ????

haha, time will tell!

Colin Wee said...

"For every action there is a consequence, they say. I agree. Good day and enjoy your clean home."

YES! This is how it should be!!!

I love children and I love to have them have a good time. But there are certain rules of good behaviour that have to be enforced. I don't play at the table nor throw food at the table, so no one else should. And 20 minutes to eat? Great rule! Logical and clear to me.


Colin Wee said...

"As with any good technique, you cannot pull it out and use it all the time or your sparring partner will become used to it, and find a way to defend against it."

If you're aiming to kill your sparring partner, you can pull out any technique. Your intent alone will be a force to reckon with.


Colin Wee said...

"I took psych 101 last year and still have a note about this in my math notebook. "

Great reminder. My psych/ob classes were ... ehem ... 14 years ago. But at least got the gist of it right.