"I first just want to thank you for the wonderful things you do. I attended the LDSEHE conference in Virginia in May and LOVED the classes I went to from you so much that I bought your CDs. Since then, I've listened to them over and over and over trying to en-grain it into my head and heart. My question to you is this: How do you start from scratch with a houseful of kids? I have 9 kiddos ages 12 to 9 mo. They are really good kids, but I've learned that I have done then a huge injustice by the way I've been parenting them. I am ready to change and increase the love and spirit in our home, but to tell the truth, I'm a bit overwhelmed with the thought of trying to teach them all (and me!) self-government at the same time. We did come up with the beginning of a family standard and we've had several family meetings which have gone fairly well. I've taught them the 4 skills and I try to stay calm (this is a biggie for me!!)...I guess I was just wondering if you have any hints for someone in my situation."
Sounds like you are off to a great start. Family meetings are so important.
Here are some tips:
Keep your family meetings short and to the point.
Always ask yourself, "Am I calm?" before doing a corrective interaction with your children.
For a while you may want to have daily reports with your consultant (spouse). This is where both of you report to each other on the interactions you had that day. (good and bad)
Train yourself to analyze your own behaviors so that you can catch yourself when you "loose it". As soon as you catch yourself, stop. Then calm down. And finally, go back to the child, explain that you had to take a minute to govern your own behaviors, apologize for lack of self control if needed, and then do a proper interaction. If they see you fixing your outburst etc. they will be inspired to work on their bad behaviors too. When you get real good at analyzing your own behaviors, you will be even more effective at analyzing theirs.
Most importantly: Just keep trying. This type of communication is a new language. I don't know about you, but when I learn a new language I feel very insecure at speaking the language for a while. I never get good at the language until I just start to use it, mistakes and all. Making mistakes with the healthy communication language helps you improve. I promise that the more you just use the language, the more your self government goals will come to pass. It takes courage at first to leave the old language and trust the new, but you can do it. I had to over come those fears at first too. Now I think and even dream in Teaching Self Government language. Sounds just like what happens when a person learns Japanese fluently doesn't it? :)