Almost a year ago, Pearls of Price posted a 14 day challenge. The challenge was to go 14 consecutive days without saying anything that was negative to my children. I never made it past Day 4 without having to start over. In recognition of how far off the mark I was last year, I have modified the challenge. I am only looking for 7 consecutive days of positive or at least neutral comments.
I know focusing on this will benefit GB and me. Ii can’t hurt Hope. Most of Hope’s negative interactions, at this point, are with the Dad. Since he is acting as her primary parent at this point, I will have more opportunities to hunt for the positive. Look for my first update tomorrow.
I have been taking the 14 Day Challenge over at Pearls of Price. The object is to confine yourself to positive or neutral words, and when you can’t manage that, be silent. And do this for 14 consecutive days. I thought it would be difficult. I am finding it impossible. I have yet to start Day 4!
Even though I can’t see myself actually making 14 consecutive days, I have benefited from trying to do so. The girls have also benefited. Being in the challenge has made me monitor closely my attitude and words. After all, attitude is the birthing ground for our words anyway. Hope has responded well to my silence. There have been many situation where I can’t think of anything positive or neutral to say. For example, Hope was sitting on her mat screaming and sobbing that she was in control. The only reaction I thought of was to laugh. Obviously not positive or even neutral. So I said ABSOLUTELY nothing- not even a mutter. After almost an hour , Hope finally got quiet. I waited five minutes, then went to her and told her that this is what control looked like, gave her a hug, and let her up. I don’t know if she got the message on control, but I do know my blood pressure didn’t shoot up and I didn’t contribute to her meltdown.
On the other hand, Hope complains and whines constantly. When I try silence, she just ups the ante and and tells me I don’t love her or like her. Eventually, what I think of as her “poor Hope game” beats my silence and I tell her to take “poor Hope” into another room. There is another blown day. It supports my attitude is the birthing ground of words theory. Obviously, I need to stop thinking of it as the “poor Hope game”when she starts whining and complaining. I am working on it.
I don’t know that I will ever make 14 days straight, but just the effort is improving the quality of life around here. I will update again.
This was one of the few relaxed moments GB has had in the last couple of days. Pressured speech, lots of tears. I am afraid the 1/2 dose of Invega is not holding her. The place she is in doesn’t allow me to be silent when I can’t be nice. I am still making Day 2, but I think my niceness is coming from God. I know it is not in me.
The Dad has been gone 36 hours. I successfully navigated Day 1 all over again. The girls had a half day of school. We went out to lunch, to the party store, and made goody bags. Hope’s 6th birthday party is Saturday. The Dad booked The Little Gym Saturday at 2:30, then bought a plane ticket to Michigan. I haven’t spoken to him without the girls around, so I am not sure how Michigan is going.
After doing goody bags, the girls tried to watch a movie, but GB ended up in tears multiple times. I turned it off and made each of them unhappy. They recouped in time for the three of us to make pizza together for dinner. They called The Dad and now they are in bed- GB asleep, Hope talking to herself about how mean I am. I am not saying a word!
The Dad left this morning. He will be in Michigan for 6 days. Naturally, Hope melted down this morning. Only I didn’t see it coming. She was great until 5 minutes before the bus came. We gathered up school stuff and I told both girls to get their jackets. It was raining. Hope told me she didn’t need to get her jacket. Again I asked her to get her jacket, in a consciously neutral voice. She started screaming and crying that I hated her and she didn’t need a jacket. She hit GB and I lost my attitude. I was very negative when I told her to put her coat on NOW. She walked out into the rain without a coat. The bus came and both girls are gone- GB dry, Hope wet. The consequences of the morning? Hope has no TV today and I am back at Day One tomorrow. Sigh.
Day 2 was not any easier than Day 1. I was successful,but only because I didn’t say very much. I did manage to put Hope on the mat, keeping myself matter of fact and neutral. I am thankful today is a school day- it is easier to keep the challenge when dealing with people that aren’t trying to push buttons. I sent Special Ed and email today instead of calling them 🙂
Yesterday was day one of attitude challenge. I had Hope all day, and while I was much quieter than normal, I succeeded without much trouble. GB was home and I had the girls together for three hours. A little harder, but still a success.
The more difficult part of day one was in the evening. The Dad and I went out to dinner with three friends. My humor tends to have a sarcastic bite to it. My dinner company and I enjoyed ourselves. The Dad continually monitored my conversation and repeatedly asked if what I just said was positive or neutral. It was mostly sarcasm, which is not positive, but can be enjoyable. I might add, it wasn’t at his expense. Since I won’t be going out to dinner again in the next thirteen days, the situation will not arise again.
Today I found a challenge I couldn’t resist, over at Pearls of Price. It is the 14 Day Plan toImprove Thought Patterns. Starting today, I am committing to speak to everybody (the school district and Hope included) using positive or neutral language for fourteen consecutive day. If I can’t figure out how to use positive or neutral language, I have to say nothing. For consecutive fourteen days, including six days the Dad will be in Michigan.
After my realization that I was me, Thursday night, without anything Hope did changing my reaction, I wanted more of that. I will be using my blog to track my progress and hold myself accountable. I would appreciate prayers and good thoughts… I do not think it is going to be easy. Any body want to join us?