Monday, August 23, 2010

"how do you teach your own child? what if she doesn't listen?"

so the week off was nice for me. i had a lot more time to putter around. but without constant chazara, chana didn't remember most of the words. we did our usual her screaming and me keeping fairly calm . she was frustrated that she didn't remember the words. i only did the most recent bunch. we still have to go back and do a major chazara of all the words in the parsha. i'm thinking maybe spread it out over a few days. days 1 and 2 review the words, then days 3-5 go through the pesukim? or some version thereof.

the beginning of rashi went well, but quickly devolved. as usual, i wonder if i'm not handling her screaming properly and that's why it continues, or if i'm handling it very well and she's screaming in frustration. as usual, it's probably a combination. the ever so delicate balance between compassion and boundaries. between her expressing her frustration and her mistreating another human being. between me pushing her to stretch herself vs pushing her too much.

my sense today is that i was pushing her appropriately and that she was frustrated that it wasn't coming easily. and that i should be more strict in not letting her speak to me this way. such a challenge. i did finally tell her (she wanted to be finished by 10am so she could go walk some neighborhood dog) that every time she yelled at me, she was going to have to wait 2 minutes after 10am and be late. she immediately converted her furious yelling to crying: "but i'm angry, i can't control myself, it's too hard." and i said that i understand how angry she is, i can see how upset she is, and that if she yells she will have the consequences. i have genuine empathy for her. i know it's hard. but i'm not doing her (nor myself) any favors by letting her speak to me that way. if i can model being calm under extreme provocation, and be sympathetic and compassionate to her feelings, while being firm about how she talks to me...
the challenge is that i often barely notice her speaking disrespectfully. and the other challenge is to find an appropriate but not overly harsh consequence. and then consistently apply it.
(haha, alfie kohn would say to make it more interesting! then there would be no battle!)

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