A Love and Logic Technique for Teaching Respect
The invaluable added benefit of modeling self-care is what our children will learn from our example. One of my favorite techniques for cultivating self-care for everyone in the household is called the “Energy Drain.” It can be used as a consequence but it is also an excellent way to teach children and adults how to implement respect. When our child has been chronically misbehaving or disrespecting our space, we can immediately start empathizing for the problem they are causing with a calm tone of voice such as, “Oh no……..that nasty word you just used to describe me really drained my energy. How are you going to put that energy back?”
They won’t know what you are talking about at first but after a few times they realize that when they cause a problem for you they will have to do one of your chores for you or come up with some babysitting money so you can have a night off or whatever you come up with that will put that energy back. I love this one because it is so visceral. You can feel the energy drain right out of your body when your child misbehaves and feel it go right back in when you hear a vacuum running from a distance. (meaning your child is doing the vacuuming for you) If they refuse to play this game we move to the next level of consequences, which will be offered in Step Five.
Children from toddlers to teens learn very quickly how to use the Energy Drain technique on us when we are misbehaving so it goes both ways and is a gift for everyone. As a parent, our hearts will sing when we hear our teenagers making appropriate boundaries with friends who are dangerous or a drag to be around, because these skills were modeled in their home. After awhile you realize that there is a different level of respectful behavior in the family as a whole.
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