Hi, how are you doing?
I’ve been very busy thinking about how else can I help all the lovely parents who are following me and I’ve decided to prepare the series where I will talk about the Positive Discipline parenting tools.
Each video and block post will be dedicated to one of the tools where I will describe shortly how each of the PD tools works. And of course, if you want to practice them, learn more and train how to use them together with other parents, I invite you to our courses, or a 1:1 consultation with me, so that you can try these techniques out and feel more confident using them. But just by watching those videos and reading these blog posts, you will also learn a lot, so it’s really worth watching them, subscribing and following me on social media.
The wheel of choice
Today, I will start with one of my favourite tools, the wheel of choice. I use this tool for a lot of different challenges. The basic one is connected with anger. So you can call it an ‘anger wheel of choice’. Although with children, I usually call it ‘the wheel of happiness or the wheel of feeling good/ calm’ – whatever they need and they invent the name by themselves.
So we prepare a wheel. We draw a circle and the lines to cut this circle like a pizza which you cut into pieces. I usually use a paper plate for this. Each triangle is an idea of what they can do to calm down if we talk about anger. So when you are all in good mood, and you have a little bit of time, you sit down together and analyze what helps each of you to calm down. So each of you can create your own wheel.
Find out what helps your child calm down
Children have a lot of great ideas. Of course, you can suggest something, but please give them space for their ideas. Use this opportunity to find out what helps THEM, not you. Very often parents who come to me, say what helps them calm down is practising yoga, meditation or breathing deeply, so they encourage their children to do the same. But then they have a different type of a child, who really needs to jump, run, dance, and do something very active to calm down. And then breathing deeply really doesn’t help them. So I suggest first asking your children what helps them. Of course, you know your children best. So you also know what is helpful for them.
Then put the ideas in different triangles, and put this wheel of choice in a visible place. So that next time when they start getting angry, when you feel that something is going to happen and that the storm is coming, you can suggest: ‘Let’s go to your wheel of choice and choose what may help you today.’, ‘What do you want to do to feel better?’
It really works perfectly, because they know they are the authors of those ideas and that they are their ideas. So why not use them? Even if you have a fighter in a family who often rebels against you, using the wheel is ok for them because these are their own ideas, not yours.
Write, draw or take pictures
While preparing the wheel, your child (or you) can write these ideas but even better – they can draw them. Children love drawings. What they love even more are pictures. So why don’t you take pictures of them while they are doing these activities and put these photos on the wheel? Try it and you’ll see what powerful impact on their imagination it will have.
One last piece of advice is to put there only things which you really accept. Because if a child has an idea, which is quite natural, that watching cartoons or eating chocolate helps them calm down and you agree to put it on the wheel of choice, then you have a problem. Because when they want to use something and you say: ‘No, you can’t do it, you can’t eat any more chocolate or you can’t watch any more cartoons!’, for sure they will get even angrier. So you should discuss the ideas together at first and then put on the wheel only the ideas which you all find helpful, acceptable, and respectful for everyone in your family. And then when some idea is on the wheel, they can always use it. So avoid things which you can’t really agree on. Remember that the child who approaches the wheel is already triggered. Hence, we try to avoid even more stress and negative emotions and so it’s safest to put there only the things which they can do at any point.
Easy yet powerful
Okay, this is it. Easy yet extremely powerful tool. Plenty of parents who attended my courses give me feedback that it’s one of the most powerful tools. So try it today. It’s really easy. Take a paper plate, divide it into triangles, and put the ideas there. It’s a really good idea to prepare such a wheel for all of you separately. So each of you in your family has your own wheel of choice. And yes, use it in front of your kids so they can see and get encouraged to use them too. Let me know what you think about it and how it works for you if you already use it. Share your experience with us because this is very, very helpful for other parents.
Remember – have fun and spend a great time together while preparing your wheels of choice as parenting does not have to be a hassle but it can be a lot of fun!