Learning From 1-1
Today was a learning experience for me and my twin boys, age 7. The "Make-Up Minutes" aspect of The 1-1 Parenting Principle gave my boys a positive learning experience, and made me proud as a father.
At the beginning of the day, one boy had given me 10 minutes in the past couple days, and his brother had given me 20 minutes. As I am the home teacher during the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted my boys to learn more than what is given by their teachers. I wanted them to learn to love learning.
After home school was completed, we played a learning game. I wrote words on a whiteboard and the first boy to say the word out loud, I would redeem a minute. By the end of the 15 minute game, one boy had his 15 minutes fully redeemed, and his brother had all but 3 minutes redeemed.
Here's the extra bonus thing that happened next. I started sweeping the floor in our home, and the boy that had 3 minutes left suddenly started sweeping the floor with a hand broom and dustpan. I didn't even ask him to help me! Home school was all done. He had the opportunity to go play, but he stayed and decided to help me. After he was done, I thanked him and showed him as I removed his last few minutes.
He had such as sense of pride in himself, and I mirrored my pride of him. He had such a sense of confidence and the two of us became closer today in our relationship.
My Boys Were “Zeros” Today
Let me be clear... My twin boys (age 7) are not “zeros,” but they did give me ZERO restoration minutes by the end of the week. They were actually my little HEROES!
One of my sons had racked up more than three hours of time for my restoration. Let's call him "Son #2," (only because he was a big pooper today). He was in a highly oppositional mood the entire day. For every disagreement he had with me I counted out a minute for myself. For every time he did not listen, I counted out another minute. By the end of that day, he was not listening for 3 minutes and 10 seconds, which according to The 1-1 Parenting Principle, equals 3 hours and 10 minutes of time for me to restore my sanity. That may not sound like an awful lot of time that my son did not listen and too much time for myself, but it was needed to establish healthy boundaries for him and sanity for me. Think about it, those 3 hours and 10 minutes equates to 190 times he was in opposition to me or unwilling to listen to me. That's a lot for one day. This is nothing small for either of us, and our family couldn't sustain that atmosphere much longer.
My "#1 Son," in contrast, had only given me 30 minutes over the prior 2-3 days. When I decided to take my 3 hours and 10 minutes, I actually chose to spend time with #1 who didn't have as many minutes. My wife stayed with #2 at home for that time, while I went out and spent one-on-one time with his brother.
Of course #2 was extremely sad that he was not going to be with me for a big chunk of that Saturday. He cried in my arms for about 15 minutes. My heart was broken. I wanted to bail him out. I really didn't want him to have to experience natural consequences. I continually questioned 1-1. I felt like a bad father. But I also knew, that his oppositional behavior would not only continue, but get worse. Imagine me unleashing a young man like that upon this world in 11 years. No thank you!
When I finally came back home, my once-oppositional boy was happily playing in our backyard. He yelled, "Daddy!" when I went out to see him, and he ran to give me a huge hug. He had nothing but smiles and fun stories of his time playing. The 1-1 Parenting Principle doesn't suggest that I punish my son, but allow natural consequences as the outcome for his own actions. I was not the bad guy, because I didn't ground him from anything, put him in time-out or punish him in any way. In fact, we was able to do whatever he wanted.
I told him that since I had claimed all of my time of restoration, he now has ZERO minutes of time to give me. He smiled. I smiled. We hugged again.
At that time, my other son asked me how many minutes he had to give me. I told him that he has to give me 30 minutes of restorative time (30 seconds of him not listening to me). He hung his head in sadness because his brother had ZERO minutes to give me.
I reminded him that he could redeem his 30 minutes, by doing chores around the house for 30 minutes. He asked if that would get him to ZERO minutes, and I confirmed that it would. He then took off up to a bedroom that were were planing to transform into a playroom. There were many things our family planned to make the transformation possible, and our boys knew what they were.
More than 30 minutes later, he came downstairs to summons me to this room. He had taken all of his reading books out of a smaller bookcase, moved it to another room and then moved all the books and organize them in the bookcase. When I came into that room, I was blown away. He did so much of the things we talked about. In fact, his once-oppositional brother helped out even though he already had ZERO minutes for me. Together, they greatly helped in the transformation of that room.
I turned to both boys and said, "Wow! You both worked so hard for our family. I am so proud of you boys!" Their little eyes were filled with pride for their efforts and they had true joy in their accomplishments. Then, at the same time, my twin boys in unison said, "Now you have ZERO minutes, Daddy!" and giggled. I told them they were right and they ran to hug me. That's when I knew I did things the right way, and I was restored in my mind about being a good daddy. More than that, my boys were very calm and regulated for the rest of the day. They truly gave me sanity and renewed energy.
Later, when I put my boys to bed, I asked them how many minutes they gave me today, and they spiritedly yelled, "ZERO!" I then asked, "Why don't we spend the day tomorrow at the lake?" They were so happy, and started telling me everything they wanted to do at the lake.
UPDATE: Our family went to that lake for half of the day. The boys took their fishing poles to practice casting, chased fish in the stream and ran around like they owned the world. More than that, they listened to us and actually gave me ZERO minutes at the end of that day. Two days in a row at ZERO restoration minutes for me. That's okay, because I AM restored.
We All Love A Good Redemption Story
One of 1-1's vernacular is "Make-Up Minutes," which is the opportunity for your child to take back some or all of the minutes you collected from them. It's truly great to earn back something that was lost.
Now that school has started for my twin boys (first grade) as well as for me, their home school teacher during COVID-19, I am receiving minutes from them more than ever before. Most days I can only collect 5-10 minutes, but with the transition into this weird new school situation, they are less regulated than they would be in a classroom with a real teacher and their peers. Transitions mean less regulation. Less regulation means more time not listening. And that means more minutes for me to claim. But I am honesty racking up more minutes than I want or need at this time.
What to do in that situation? Let your child redeem their minutes back from you. There are so many things they can do for you that could reward them the minutes they lost and help you in the process. You can give them chores that they are not normally responsible for. But that might require you to be with them to instruct them, which might actually turn into them not listening and giving you more minutes.
Instead, you can have your child redeem their minutes by doing something that teaches them and enriches their lives without you needing to show them how to do anything. For me, I offer minutes back if they read for 30 minutes. If they can do this by themselves in a quiet spot, then I will redeem them 1 minute for every 1 minute they read quietly on their own.
Other ways for your child to redeem their time could be exercising, drawing something special, make a LEGO creation or other learning exercises. These are the things we do with our boys to decrease their minutes and increase their intellect.
Give it a try! Also check out our 1-1 Tips page for more ideas.
Putting Theory Into Practice
After a few months of using The 1-1 Parenting Principle with my twin boys, it was put to the test in front of a friend of mine. My boys and I went to at an eating establishment to pick up some food where I bumped into my friend. As I was telling my friend about 1-1, my boys started wrestling, jumping and running around like crazy wildcats. For me, their behavior was out of control. I told my friend to watch 1-1 in action.
This is what I said to my boys in a calm and collected manner:
“The two of you are out of control. I need you to stop wrestling and settle down. I am going to start ‘Counting Minutes’ now.”
My boys actually stopped the very moment I told them I was going to count, and I wasn't even able to start counting. My sons then came to me and held my hands and were quiet and still. I embraced them, patting their heads and gently rubbing their backs with affection.
My friend was very impressed, and I felt good about my stronger relationship with my sons. I didn't need to threaten my children and they weren't put in time-out, grounded or punished in any way.
My boys later giggled and taunted me that I didn't get any minutes. And I pretended I was upset that they won. We make these exchanges a fun game of not letting daddy get more minutes. And THAT is my favorite game!
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