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Better Behavior

On Monday, my Twins Club had a speaker from The Better Behavior Bureau come talk with us.


Jeanine Fitzgerald was conversational, funny, and highly informative. She didn’t mind “interruptions” and answered every single question we all threw at her. We weren’t talked at, we were talked with. And her daughter is now working with her…so I’m thinking that means she’s doing/she did something right with her own kids 🙂

She went over a graph of child temperament, describing where kids might fit in – but making sure we all knew that they probably cross more than one quadrant. She also described the needs for each quadrant and effective positive disciplinary techniques for kids who fall in each quadrant. Holy eye opener!! I wish I had been exposed to this about 3 years ago when we were going through major screaming/anger fits with Burke. We eventually figured out how to better deal with him; but it would have been a lot quicker if I’d known all of this stuff at that point!!

One of the things Jeanine said that made me sit up and take notice was along the lines of “fair does not mean equal.” Kids are different. The needs of one child can be completely different than another. A high-level, material example is just because one kid needs shoes, doesn’t mean the other one does – so the other one shouldn’t necessarily get them. I wish I could remember her exact, complete phrasing….but she basically said that she always told her kids that she’d be fair to them by always providing what they need. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’d always get the same things (typically when they’re older) or be disciplined the same way for doing the same thing (typically when they’re younger).

One other thing Jeanine talked about was the fact that playgrounds used to have activities to help kids to self-regulate. Much of these things are disappearing because they’ve been deemed unsafe…which means that we, as parents, need to provide these “actions” for our kids. Stuff like…spinning (those awesome merry-go-rounds), hanging up-side-down (monkey bars), swinging and going up and down (see-saws), and crashing. There’s more, but I can’t remember all of them. I think I’m going to look into the book she recommended, Take Five by Mary Sue Williams, to find out more about helping kids self-regulate.

Jeanine has a book out too, The Dance of Interaction. I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve ordered it and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

9 Responses

  1. Oooh, wish I had gone. We are having Ned screaming fits. Really need to bend your ear about that… I’ve been working on blog post for a while about his sucky behavior.

  2. My ear is all yours 🙂

    …are time outs escalating the behavior? Making him even more mad? There are other types of “positive” discipline that Jeanine spoke about.

    Gimme a call or we can set up a “mommy play date” and chat over coffee or something 🙂

  3. Thank you for this post, Nancy! I agree, Jeanine was fantastic, I am going to order her book and the books she recommended as well! I have already started using some of her techniques and I am seeing results! I wish I knew all of this years ago!

  4. I am so bummed I missed it, I could use some guidance right about now with my 6 year old, and the twins! I was just looking for my old copy of 123 Magic but maybe I’ll look into Take 5 if it has recommendations for discipline and positive reinforcement?

  5. I think Take Five is more about helping kids to self-regulate. Here’s the blurb from their website: “[It] was written for parents and teachers, providing activities that are helpful to keep children alert at home and school. Many therapists recommend these low budget, easy to use activities. This book does not teach children about their engine levels, but it is organized around the five ways to change how alert we feel.”

    Whereas, I think Jeanine’s book is more about what you’re looking for. Her blurb is “The Dance of Interaction gives you creative solutions to handle the challenging behaviors of children.”

  6. Sounds like it was AWESOME! We’re HUGE clarifiers with our two (who invariably call it to our attention) between “Fair” and “equal” and how to handle when your situation may be neither! 😉

    Going to check out her books now!

  7. Sounds Fabulous! I’ve learned some of those techniques since the kids have been “all growed-up,” and wish I had more exposure to them way back when. I always *knew* that “fair” isn’t the same as “equal,” but never put it into words (not much help to the kids). My stock response to “It’s not fa-air” was “Get used to it; life’s not fair.” I guess I was just a mean mom.

  8. This sounds fantastic. Yes fair, I must remember this.

  9. Hiya! Jeannine gave me 2 of her books after the meeting. I thought I would post an email to the group and “raffle” one off to a member in attendance, and put the 2nd book in our Lending Library. Would you like to borrow it first?

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