I have been trying a new parenting technique lately that I made up (sorry no PhD to back it up.) I call it Bad News/Good News. When something negative happens to my children, I acknowledge what is wrong or what is frustrating or what hurts about the problem with the “Bad News”. Then we find a bright spot in the situation with the “Good News”.
Here are some examples of some recent bad news/good news situations we have had:
My daughter, Croft, biffed it hard on the grass. She came up crying with a lightly scraped chin. After some comforting and hugging, I said, “Well, the bad news is you fell hard and it must hurt. (Snuggle, hug, kiss) The good news is that you fell on the grass and not on the sidewalk. Your chin would be bleeding if you had hit the concrete.”
The next day Elle fell hard on the sidewalk. She came up crying hard too. I said, “The bad news is you fell, the good news is that you didn’t land on the same elbow that you hit when you tripped yesterday.” We kind of giggled about that one.
(The bad news is my kids fall and trip all the time. The good news is they always get up and we’ve never had a broken arm or stitches.)
Crew was procrastinating chores. I asked him if he wanted the good news or the bad news first. He chose the bad news first. I said, “The bad news is that you need to make your bed. The good news is that your room is already cleaned.” His eyes brightened and he ran right upstairs and made his bed.
We were stuck in traffic due to a car accident on a marathon road trip. My kids were complaining. I said, “Well the bad news is that we are stuck in traffic and it is taking us much longer to get there than we planned. The good news is we aren’t that family in the accident.”
Recently our car needed to be fixed. We were without it for 2 weeks. We talked as a family: “The bad news is that we just had to pay $2500 to get the car fixed. The good news is that the car didn’t break down on us on our road trip. It didn’t leave us stranded on the plains of Wyoming, and we luckily have grandma’s car to borrow.”
You really can apply Bad News/Good News to almost any situation. I am hoping this parenting technique teaches my children to acknowledge and accept the pain or discomfort of the moment, but then move on and find the good in every bad situation.