The Magic Formula

A gal in my neighborhood who is social worker mentioned that her kids lost out on friend time if their kids couldn't treat one another nicely. She said, "It's easy to be nice to friends. You have to work harder to be nice to your siblings. " She also said that you tend to treat your spouse the way you treated your siblings. As sad as that is, it does tend to turn into that and worse as time goes on in a marriage.
Back to the 'Magic Forumla.' I dabble in numerous books on parenting, relationships, communication, ADHD. Today, I was reading 'The Potentially Sane Mother's Guide to Raising Children," by Tamara Fackrell and I love the idea of the 'Magic Formula.' It is simply this: The Thank You - Please Rule. It means that before you can ask anything from anyone, you thank them first (show gratitude). For instance, 'Thanks for being such a fun brother. Could you please help me get a game down from the closet?' or 'Thanks for being such a nice Mommy. Can you please help me change?' I love, 'Thanks for always making such good dinners. Can you please get me some more?' I love this because it gives an opportunity for everybody to show gratitude and to actually think about it a little as well.

My husband and I were talking about working on re-framing requests and statements as well to reflect a more positive undertone; this is a great start. Tamara Fackrell mentions in her studies of psychology that it takes 'ten compliments to combat the effects of one negative statement.' (Fackrell, 156) I have heard of both 5:1 and 3:1 ratios for positives to negatives. I guess any way you spin it, it takes quite a bit more positives to undo the negative. This is tricky when you become really concious of it. For my little Preston who tends to be in trouble alot, I have to thank him or praise him for shutting the door quietly or congratulate him on his matching socks. But, it can be done. 'Thanks for turning the light off.' 'Thanks for flushing the toilet.' 'Good job washing your hands.' 'Thanks for being so organized.' 'I love the outfit you picked out today.' And then we need to bring up in them how they feel about what they've done. 'How does that make you feel?' Or, 'I bet that makes you feel so good inside.' This helps them feel the accomplishment from within themselves and creates the desire to achieve the feeling more often as opposed to being 'so proud of' them.

Tonight for family night, we will introduce the 'Magic Formula' and also do a quick exercise (also suggested in Fackrell's book) which is have each person in the family take a turn standing in the center of the circle. Then each person gets to tell something that they really love or appreciate about the person standing in the center. This gives everyone a chance to feel appreicated and loved. Right now, having more peace in the home and appreciation and tolerance for one another is my biggest goal. Do it!


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