Thursday, July 30, 2009

Momma Kari

Working with six children all day long gives me a lot of opportunities to think about how to effectively raise kids. After about three weeks of non-stop thinking, I´ve got no clue. I still suck at it.

I made the decision about a week into my volunteer work at Alalay that I can´t get involved in everything. There is always someone yelling about something. Always. It´s too much work to stay on top of it all. So I decided to only focus on the important stuff. The stuff they really shouldn´t be doing.

So I save all my negative attention for: spitting, hitting, standing on the table, inflicting bodily harm, touching the oven, running into the street, damaging other´s possessions, etc. You get the idea.

Everything else I either let resolve itself, wait until another adult comes along, or distract them with something else (usually involving crayons or somethings brightly colored). I know that my methods are probably not that great for the long-term but I´ve got no better ideas at the moment and I can´t wear myself out each day by yelling. That´s not fun for me or the kids.

I find it challenging that I don´t have the power to actually enforce consequences (because I´m just a volunteer and in a few short hours I´ll be gone and they can go about doing whatever they want) and even if I did have the power, I probably wouldn´t be able to clearly communicate them to the kids in my broken Spanish.

The kids don´t have much consistency when it comes to discipline. They have two women who alternate spending nights and days with them as well as Marisol their psychologist and Patricia the head of the orphanage. Not to mention whichever volunteer(s), clergy, or staff might be in the home for the day. I would try talking to Patricia about it, but my Spanish still not quite to that level. (The other day I tried telling her that Nayerly is afraid of me - but I ended up saying ¨I´m not that into Nayerly¨)

So I´m opening it up to all of you. Give me your ideas. What should I try?

1 comment:

  1. I remember Erich's first grade teacher never raised her voice and I was in awe of her. She'd quietly say, "First graders, I need you to line up now." and they would. Seemed like they all loved her. How she got to that point in the first week of school, I'm not sure as I wasn't there until field trip time.

    However, I like to think about focusing on what should be done, not what shouldn't be. Seems successful in the world of downhill skiing..."don't hit the tree" makes the child look at the tree, therefore focusing on and pointing their body at the tree and potentially skiing into the tree. Whereas "ski to mom" makes the child focus on mom's smiling face and they don't even think about the dangerous tree.

    "I need you to be nice to your friend."
    "I need you to sit down now and play nice."
    "I need you to play in the yard because it's safe."

    Hmmmm could it actually be that simple? I don't know but it could be worth a try. Maybe Carla can tell us!