A couple of years ago, when I was trying
to reduce my yelling, I came across the idea of code words and kids.
I noticed that the same situations made me say the same things,
over and over. I was tired and frustrated and so were my children. Additionally, they were beginning to tune me out.
So, I sat down with them and said that I was tired of going over
and over the same things. I said definitely tired of yelling at them. I suggested that we choose a few words that
would be our secret code words to mean certain things.
For example, there was one friend my son had that he had a
great time with, but they often went overboard in the wrestle/play area. So instead of constantly trying various ways of minimizing
this, we came up with one word that meant: "be careful! I know you are having fun, but please back off because someone is
going to get hurt!" It has worked wonderfully.
Another way in which code words worked well is in regard to my
son and personal space of those around him. He used to have no sense of personal space boundaries. He also didn't read the
non-verbal messages people send when they want to space. He loves to be touched all the time, in almost any way, so
it NEVER crossed his mind that it might bother others. I found this very difficult to deal with, to teach and accommodate.
We started using a code word that meant: "Andrew, this is one of those times I am teaching you about. The person you are near
needs some space."
This taught him to not only back off, but also slowly taught him
to see how the person was responding. Andrew began to see the person backing off, looking annoyed or scared. Andrew
began to understand body language.
Code words have a variety of uses and are a very effective,
non shaming, positive way of teaching kids to understand and stay within limits.