"Oh, Brother!"

I have years of clinical experience under my belt.  I have sat with some of the most well known play therapists in trainings.  I have been in supervision, consultation, clinical meetings and thousands of hours of one on one sessions with clients...but there are days I think that NOTHING has taught me more than the simple fact of being a mom.  I can sit here and type about endless research or share articles that I have found to be enlightening; however, the way I often feel most connected to my clients is to share with them that I GET IT.  I get it both clinically and personally what it's like to be a mom and face the daily bumps along the brutifal (brutal and beautiful) road called "Parenthood".  So in my blog you will see a scattering of personal reflections because I believe that the commonality in our parental struggles is often what my clients appreciate.  

I felt compelled to share with my readers what is going on in my house as of late.  I know I am not alone when I say that the fighting between my children might lead me on a very short trip to crazy.  In fact, I was not far from this:

No, those are not my children, nor are they clients.  I do feel quite sorry for these unknown wee ones that have become quite famous thanks to the internet.  Anyway, lucky for my children, I had a better idea and did not have to resort to "the shirt".

Yesterday after endless bickering about nothing (as is always the case), I took a new approach.  I told them both that since there was so much fighting, we were going to have to learn to be nicer to each other by spending more time together and doing nice things for one another (insert puzzled looks here).  I told them both that they would spend 15 minutes taking turns reading to each other and would end the day by making a collage for the other made of things that person would like.  Here is the best part: if one decides to complain or have a bad attitude, that is just a sign to me that there needs to be MORE time together and MORE time spent doing nice things for each other.  Bam!  Win-win!  

I am pleased to report that the 15 minutes of reading turned into almost 40 minutes of laughter as they decided to sing the book to each other and use funny voices.  It was the most pleasant sound this house has heard in a while.  Plus, I didn't feel the urge to yell or become angry.  It was a very calm way to address the issue at hand while promoting "time together" for my children.

Sometimes when we feel stuck in a rut with a parenting issue we are facing, just thinking outside the box can be the trick.  My kids did not expect this "consequence" but I guarantee it had a much more lasting effect than taking away screen time or sending them to their rooms to be alone.  I would love to hear what creative "time together" ideas you have!  Email me at playfulsolutionskc@gmail.com and you just might get added to my blog!