Friday, January 29, 2010

The Thought Box, revisited

I'd previously written about my brilliant idea (stolen from SuperNanny) to create a thought box for my 9-year-old daughter to write down what she wanted to tell me when I couldn't give her my undivided attention. Many comments asked for an update.

You all knew, didn't you? You all knew that the chances of this actually being successful were slim at best.

It also reminded me that I always wonder what happens to the families post-SuperNanny. Do struggling couples really learn to communicate better? Do moms never again lose their cool when trying to implement the time-out techniques? Do they remember to stick to their routines and new reward systems?

I can't answer that. All I can tell you is the result of our own experiment with the thought box.

The first few messages she wrote were along the lines of "I hate my sister!" and "I want my own room!" Still, by the time she read them to me, she was already laughing about them. I suppose it was a good place for her to direct her anger.

After that, she forgot about the thought box altogether, and right now, neither of us could tell you just where it is.

I don't think it was entirely a FAIL, though.

She seems to have re-adjusted to our nightly routine, does her homework without complaint (and does even more at her after-school program than previously), and a few times, she has led me to my bedroom to talk privately after our nightly duties are done.

I think the real benefit of the thought box was that, despite the times that my attention is elsewhere, she knows I'm here for her.

Maybe, as time goes on, those families stop using some of the devices because they no longer need them. Maybe the foundation has become strong enough that rewards are no longer necessary. Maybe the children start leaving the room when they're upset to give themselves space to calm down, and no longer need an official "time-out."

The only thing I definitely know about parenting is that the job constantly evolves as our children keep changing on us. I may not be SuperMom, but I think both my girls know that I'll always give it my all.

Originally posted on LA Moms Blog, Jan. 29, 2010.

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