If At First You Don't Succeed...
Do you ever wish you could do something over? Like, get a second chance, a "re-do”?
Do it. Try giving yourself grace and try again. These times are stressful. Maybe you find yourself being more impatient, frustrated - try to stay presently mindful and notice it. Take a breath, ask to start over and try again. Or just give yourself a re-do. Maybe you snap back at your spouse or child with a voice that seems frustrated - ask for a re-do, a try again. This will not be easy to do, to be vulnerable and honest, but it can reduce those later feelings of guilt and regret and can help show that you are human and are trying to be your best self.
Do it with your kids, too. It is a simple and effective way to teach the behaviors you want to see instead of punishing the behaviors you do not.
Often, we find ourselves in a trap of constantly telling our kids and ourselves the things not to do. I.e. “don't step on that,” “do not talk to me with that tone,” etc.
It is true that repetition can be the key to learning new habits. So, asking for what you would like to see for behavior gives the child a chance to try again. Instead of "don't talk to me with that tone" it can be "can you try that again with more respect?" Or a simple asking for use of manners when requesting something from you, i.e. "get me a snack?" can be turned into, "can you please get me a snack?"
If you are parenting or caregiving kids who have prior experiences of living in another family…foster kids, older children you have adopted, it can be hard for them to know the kind of behavior you expect because maybe their previous experiences have not given them that opportunity. Use re-dos as a way to give opportunities to try again. Although we do our best to explain these expectations, the re-dos give them a chance for real-life learning and can be a good gauge to how much they truly understand the expectations.
Next time your child(ren) asks for something in a way that lacks the respectful, kind tone you expect, or does a task in a way that does meet your ‘expectations’ - ask them to try again. The key is to keep your tone light, kind, and somewhat playful.
Written by Lindsay Bragdon, Adoption Program Director at The Maine Children's Home for The Connected Community @ MCH.