Stinkin’ Veggies!

An Austin Journalist, Martha Wood, interviewed me a couple of weeks back for an attachment parenting article on SAY WHAT YOU SEE for an internet article. In a subsequent blog, she was explaining to her readers how to use SWYS in the case of a child not wanting to eat cauliflower. I expanded on her entry here:

The purpose of SAYing WHAT YOU SEE is to leave children truly feeling understood so they have no need to defend their position, in this case, their tastes. Once children know you understand, you can go on to problem-solving with CAN DOs.

SWYS: “You really don’t like that cauliflower! It tastes bad and smells yucky! You don’t even want it in the same room with you, and there it is, sitting right there on your plate. And on top of that, somehow you have to find a way to eat it! Man!”

“Hmmm. Must be somewhere I can put it while you figure out a way to eat it without having to taste or smell it.”

I don’t know how it would work on cauliflower, but my daughter ate her broccoli with ketchup on it for years. It worked for her because she was the one who came up with the solution.

Check your boundaries, then let the child problem-solve to come up with solutions that work for you both. In the example of a distasteful vegetable, could you offer 2 veggie choices at each meal? Or maybe a special veggie-free day each week or month to celebrate your child’s other tastes? CAN DO problem-solving at mealtime can take the power struggles out of the kitchen. CAN DOs all the time can take the power struggles out of your life.

FYI: While it has the same roots as Ginott, etc, the SWYS approach is unique in it’s simplicity: starting with SWYS (the same thing) every time, finding STRENGTHs in EVERYTHING your kids do (no kidding), and giving you a way to be on your child’s side in problem solving with CAN DOs. No rewards or punishment; just pointing out your child’s greatness and opening up possibilities. What guidance could be better than that?

Plus, the SWYS approach makes all other relationship-based parent training more accessible. The greats like Ginott, Faber/Mazlish, Kohn, etc. have got the theory; we’ve got the simple how-to.

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