My children range from 30 -7 and there are 13 of them. I am wondering how you start this with your older children and how you brought your husband on board. I love the ideas and have passed them on to two of my children that are married and have children of their own. Please tell me more about the SODAS I kind of get it but maybe a little more detail if possible.
I don't know how old you are talking about. So I will just assume that you mean youth ages 12-18. After age 18, parents can speak in a teaching self government way, and encourage problem solving, vision, and reasoning, but usually only natural consequences are appropriate, and those are usually kind of out of the control of the parents.
All the foster youth who came to my home were between ages 12 and 18. The state made them leave at age 18 even if we didn't want them to. The teaching self government system was formulated for youth first. So, even though it seems like youth would have a hard time adjusting to a new family system, they really shouldn't.
However, before I would introduce the system to the younger children I would have a special counseling session with my older child and share my vision with them, and invite them to be a second witness to what I am trying to do for the family. If you show this respect for the age of your youth, they will usually respect you more. I would also explain the entire system to them, so that they can be supportive when the whole family meets. Having the oldest child in support of the family's system is invaluable. All the younger ones will usually follow the attitude of the older one. Note: The youth doesn't get to veto your parenting plan, you are just running your plan by them before the others. The family government isn't up for debate.
Common reasons older children don't succeed with the Teaching Self Government principles.
1. Parents allow, or encourage too much "self" feeding time, like computer, facebook, friends, TV, radio, etc. All of these things feed the selfish man. Youth who are too caught up in themselves don't see a family vision as important or realavant. If family isn't more important than self or friends etc then change self time in for family and home time.
2. Consistency. Parents have to teach to every attitude problem, and instruction that isn't followed in order to teach cause and effect properly. An attitude problem is a signal that there is a problem in your relationship. Youth should know how to disagree with you in an appropriate way. Youth who respect their parents are happier! To give our children all the happiness possible, we must teach them to respect our authority by teaching them the four basic skills; following instructions, accepting No answers and criticism, accepting consequences, and disagreeing appropriately.
3. Vague language. Language like, "you have an attitude problem" is only good if the youth already knows what they do when they have an attitude problem. I say things like, "Right now you are clenching your fists, and speaking in a loud, argumentative voice tone. These behaviors are signs of an attitude problem." Sometimes I even show them what they look like. Not to make fun of them, but to show them what they do, so that they can fix the places where they hold tension. Try using more specific language when you talk to your children about their behaviors. You will be surprised at how much easier it is for them to fix a behavior they can see.
4. Expect your older children to do better at the four basics than your younger children. If the younger children are more obedient, then hold the older children to the same bar as the younger. Often parents lower standards for older children. It should be just the opposite. When parents lower the bar for their youth, they are choosing to make teenagers instead of youth. Read http://www.home-school.com/Articles/PlattTeenagers.html The Myth of The Teenager. It is a great article. Children should know the difference between a youth and a teenager. In our home, my children would feel insulted in someone called them a teenager.
Regarding SODAS: They are a problem solving exercise. Situation, Options, Disadvantages, Advantages, Solutions.
You give the situations and they fill in the rest. After, you discuss their solutions etc. Don't worry if they didn't pick what you want them to, sometimes they do this on purpose to try to start an argument; power struggle. Don't play into it. They did the reasoning, and we have to trust that they really want to be good.
Use SODAS whenever you think you should. Some youth I have had do one, or more a day, and others rarely need them. It is up to you to decide how good your youth is at problem solving. Their behaviors should give you a pretty good indication of this.
As far as my husband goes, he saw the system work and then was sold on it. He saw that when I talked to the children, they reponded, but when he tried to correct the children there was tension, and power struggles. It helps to have couples meetings to keep each other on track. Probably the biggest thing I did was ask him what he wanted for his family. I basically asked him for his vision and then helped him figure out how to make his vision a reality. Be patient; some people take more time than others. :)