Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ju-Jitsu Parenting

ju·jit·su also ju·jut·su or jiu·jit·su or jiu·jut·su (j-jts)n.
An art of weaponless self-defense developed in Japan that uses throws, holds, and blows and derives added power from the attacker's own weight and strength.

I hesitated to use this phrase because I never want to think of parenting as a fight or combat. So please take that picture out of your head. Instead I want to focus on rolling with it. That is what Ju-Jitsu does. Our youngest is taking Mixed Martial Arts. It uses kick boxing, jujitsu and wrestling. I think.  Anyway, Ju-Jitsu rolls with the other person force or momentum to gain advantage.

There are times when our children's fears are so strong that they will not let go of certain behaviors.  Here is an example.  Every night Teddy walks into the kitchen while I am fixing dinner. He seems to pick that moment when 2 things are done at once, the phone is ringing and the dog wants out. At that moment he says "What's for dinner?" I know. I know. This sounds so petty. You have to realize this child RARELY speaks to me. But he picks this moment every evening to ask me this same question.He is 18 years old, so can pretty clearly see what is being prepared. For a long time I just answered.  This seems to be not only reinforcing the question, timing and persistence, but then he stands there and stares at me. I can get exasperated. It is easy to read WAY to much into his actions. Why is he picking that moment when it gets most hectic to come in and ask? Probably because that is when I'm making the most noise, dinner is almost done so smells good (hopefully) and he's hungry. He doesn't take hunger well and it brings up fear for him. He still says "I'm hungry" in a the voice of a very young child with a look on his face that says "Why are you doing this to me?"

So I need to start rolling with it. Teddy, would you like to come in and stir the ---? I need to start getting him involved. We need to focus on building relationships with our children and NOT focus on being irritated or annoyed.

So look for what irritations repeat themselves with your child and ask "How can I roll with it?" Use it to bring you closer and to build.

I know this sounds like RAD parenting 101, but some of us are slow learners. Be patient with me.

Have a healing weekend.


Annie said...

Love that support. I am SUCH a slow learner.

Trauma Mama said...

I get a lot of ridiculous questions as soon as I walk in the kitchen or when making dinner. It is exhausting, but I love you post.

Marty Walden said...

You're doing a great job at recognizing the signs but boy is it hard! Sometimes I think we have to be Super Woman all the time and that ain't happening! One moment at a time, one little step forward.

Erika said...

I like using the analogy of Ju-Jitsu parenting in our house. I think of it as leaning out of the way/blocking then using the force of their negative energy/behaviors and transforming it into something better. My little guy has been a terror for the past two days of having everyone home. I noticed yesterday that he invited me to bring my meal with him to a corner to eat with him - figured out he was reacting to having to share me so much - so I've been setting games and activities up in corners and under forts for just the two of us. Fifteen minutes here, fifteen minutes there. It's been the perfect remedy.

BeckyJoie said...

I can definitely relate to this question. Good comparison.

Erika said...

Here's another ju-jitsu moment. Yesterday, my oldest was sooo mad that her behavior led her to needing to come into the stall with me and her younger brother. She kept arguing with me and though I asked her what she thought would happen if she ___ while I left her alone outside of the bathroom, she seemed to understand. I told her that I wouldn't argue with her but if she wanted to continue talking about how consequences work, I would. Then she said, "fine. I'll just stop talking all day." I told her that though it saddened me because I really do enjoy her company, I would nevertheless accept her offer. She laughed and it was over.