We may know what is best for them. We know our knee jerk reaction to the shouted claim…”You are not the boss of me!” But just as you would never load a racehorse into a starting gate without the considerable and concerted effort of both a trainer and a rider beforehand, you cannot expect a child to do what you’d like them to do, just cuz you say so.
The Race. An upset, a tantrum, willfullness or non-compliance are all like being in the race. An untrained yearling can be mighty hard to ride, but in the heat of the moment, that’s your job during the parenting interactions. You are not going to deliver your best parenting during these trying times, and frankly even if you are rocking it, they are not hearing it! Instead focus on safety (theirs, yours and the remote’s,) basic information (You can join us when you are done yelling.) and observe what you need to cover later (They keep trying to engage you in thier drama.) Most of all keep calm.
The Training. When the race is over and you have a down moment, that is when you review what happened, what worked (or not) and make a strategic plan for next time. All good trainers provide these experiences and successful parents know your best parenting gets done in these “non-parenting moments.”
Most importantly, know that your cannot be both rider and trainer at once. You’ll fall off. If you fail to teach, say, appropriate power between the races, you may not fall off, but your horse may stumble in the next race unnecessarily. You get to say.
How long does it take to begin to change your parenting to get results you can be proud of? Just a moment.
How long does it take to reinforce a behavior that you wish would go away? Again, just a moment.
If I could ambush coach the mom I just saw at a coffee shop, it would make a simple impact with huge long term results. She did not break any parenting codes, there was no UTube-worthy parenting fail. Just a simple interaction, almost automatic for both, that is going to drive her crazy over time…so unnecessarily.
Little guy is 2ish. Mom hands him the bag with muffin to hold. He does so, very well in fact. When she is done doctoring her latte, she reaches down for the bag and takes it from him. He instantly siren screams, a piercing wail that is as practiced as it is effective. Mom pauses, and then quickly hands it back to him. He stops the wail then walks out with “his way” clutched in his hands, not even triumphant; just with a look that things are restored to as they should be (to his way of thinking.)
Behavior reinforced: You piss me off, I threaten a temper tantrum, you cave, I relent. OK then, see you next time. Score one for Inappropriate Power.
Opportunity missed: You have two choices here; One is give appropraite power by either letting him keep the bag out to the car, as long as he manages it well OR when you think to take it back, request it. If he wants to keep it, accept his no thanks, as long as it is nicely given, (not screeched at you.)
The second option is your default reaction everytime your child uses the scream, tantrum, or yell to get what they want. Everytime. Stop or pause in giving them what they want; even if it is easier/quieter, or you don’t mind, or you were going to anyway! Direct them to stop asking that way and model a more acceptable request. Coffee Mom could have just said, “Honey, no fussing, just say, please Mommy.” Wait until you see the switch before you comply & only then. If they do not stop the fuss, no giving in.
It may be harder that time, but each time thereafter will get way better. JAT
When it comes to the sex talk with my child, I’m about halfway. See, I decided all that drama about the BIG TALK with those traditional birds and bees was not for me. If I’ve learned anything about parents and kids over the years it is this: Many small, relaxed conversations with bits of good information beat the mother of a download (including all the nitty gritty, shock factor and a powerpoint,) everytime!
So by 7, certain things have happened, basic questions have been asked and that has led us to this cache of knowledge:
1. There is a purpose for private parts and it has to do with babies
2. One reason that things feel so zingy down there is so we WANT to play the game grown ups play that sometimes ends in a baby once we are old enough
3. Most kids are curious and check things out on each other; the first time is a pass, the next time, you are responsible for knowing the agreements (which you made after the first time)
4. There are Agreements, actually Commands, that NO adult will ever play these games without agreement from the other adult
5. All adults know that it is NEVER OK to play the games using privates with a child. If they do, it is always their fault since kids don’t know how these parts work yet. Both need help and coaching so keeping that secret Never works out.
What I’ve been able to do, given where we are at, is helping me conquer the one fear I’ve had about raising a boy; let’s call it Public Restroom-phobia. When my son insists on using a men’s restroom solo, I have disturbing visions stemming from a Jodi Piccoult novel about a little girl who was haunted by a 2 minute fondling in a Mickey D’s men’s room visit spurred by a dare.
Here’s how it goes now:
Me: OK I’ll be here, you have 2 minutes.
M: If anyone gets in your space unless they are helping with soap and papertowels, you call for me.
H: Got it.
(I have gone over and continue to refresh that if someone does anything confusing, scary, or demanding, he is to call me, get away, and if need be, pee on said person. He loves that. Be assured I will be in there in two nanoseconds)
Once he returns: Hey, did all the adults keep their agreements?
Now I can go on with my day and my child has a viable plan that has him feel more like a victor than a victim! What’s your version?
You don’t have to be ugly to benefit from a beauty makeover. Parenting is the same. You can freshen your outlook and results with a few tricks of the trade and simple tools that will stop your minor parenting issues in their tracks.
Go Live. At a parent conference, workshop or course, you can get so much accomplished. See how you are making power struggles last longer and more frequent due to a parent’s bad habits. Communication Gears clear up so many repetitive conversations. You get to ask questions and hear the coaching of other parents which in turn may help your family.
Read & Think. If you are a contemplative parent or going through a divorce with emotional ups and downs; a book, blog, audio product or DVD may be a good bet. You pick the where and when yet can stop at will. This helps you understand parenting issues at the basic level. You may miss how to structure a useful A + B = C Statement to manage tantrums with a child, but when it is reviewable, things start to gel so your parenting moments are smoother.
Talk Shop. Do you use conversation to make a change or decision? Then get with the Parent Coaching Hotline. This is so hot, so new, so unheard of, parents don’t get it. For under $96, you become a member plus get the eBook and Home Starter Kit. Then, just $16 a month gives you access to a Parent Coach for unlimited topics, 30 minutes per topic! One Dad called to check in on his idea to use his daughter’s Birthday party as privilege for how she was relating to the new family after his marriage. In minutes, he had a confident, empowered plan that worked!
Cheat Sheet. Feel like you forget the logic you know when you get triggered by your child? Parenting discipline includes having a structure that is there for your “family” even when you are off. The Home Starter Kit has it all posted for you. Keep track of the current Agreements that work for your family, refer to the four Communication Gears when your child is Demanding the *%$@ out of you, manage your chosen Privileges to motivate behavior choices (and they do NOT have to match the neighbors), avoid sounding like an idiot in public with your iron clad Rights worked out, let them know where you will not negotiate with Parent In Charge situations, but give lots of appropriate power through the Child In Charge list. If you haven’t seen it you gotta check it out!
Open The Door. Ever wished Supernanny could come to your house? It’s certainly possible. What you don’t realize is how much your parenting can improve even if the family is not in crisis. A Parent Coach can see so many patterns at work in your family that are hidden to you. It takes usually 4 hours over 2 sessions. Go from parenting fail to parenting that amazes even you!
Hmmm. Words I wish could be surgically deleted from the vocabulary of the human race: GOOD BAD RIGHT WRONG SHOULD SHOULDN’T & TRY We wouldn’t even miss them much. Except when we need to correct a magazine quiz or send back some turned meat.
If you are relying on these words to explain the behavior of people in (or out) of your family; you are unwittingly stuck in a trap. A trap built of judgement and sprung by something different than how you see yourself. Watch this.
Picking up a child at school/daycare: Were you good today? Child asking for mini golf: Well, let’s see if you can be good all week. Grandma serving dessert: You’ve been so good today…
Labeling children or their behavior as Good points out very subtly, but surely, that they are capable of being BAD. Even if you never say it. Raising your child to gain your approval to be Good (OR not Bad) has long term effects that you are probably still dealing with yourself from childhood.
So what’s an alternative? (Note that it is not the right thing to do, just a suggestion to consider…) Talk about what “Works for your family.” Be clear what does not work for your family. Note that different families have different agreements that work for them. This is true tolerance.
Expect and teach your child to be a pleasure, play a game that you will have no parenting moments, tell them when they have truly impressed you and acknowledge them for being the amazing creatures they are.
Yesterday I told my son that while I could pick up his breakfast dish for him out of pure love, I chose to have him come do it so he would not drive his future wife crazy. He respected that. So will she…
It seems kids are always bickering with each other. How do we stop it? In 3 words: Step In Less. When you solve for X in their equations and struggles, you deny them practice they need to learn to work things out.
Imagine it: Three boys 6-8 playing hide n seek. One gets smack happy and the other two start saying that “as a consequence” they will count very quickly or with their eyes open because they are not happy with this treatment. Things quickly deteriorate.
A. Say nothing; let them work it out (unless it comes to blows)
B. Tell the one who was hitting to cut it out
C. Tell the “victims’ to move on and stop being mean
D. Offer to guide them in working it out, until they can do this part on their own
A, B and C all miss out on the group empowerment available in option D. But Referees beware, don’t try this without proper training or you just end up enabling them to wait for the hero to save them from conflict. Handling conflict is, BTW, the main skill being developed here.
The Actual Conversation That Helped:
Are you all having fun? No. Do you need to give consequences to each other? No. What do you sound like? A Parent. What could you do instead? Ask to make new Agreements. OK, Who’s first? They each offered an Agreement: Hands Off, Count Slow, and Close Eyes. They all agreed and then were off to the races.
Two of the three kids families know the Licensed2Parent program, so at this point, these talks go much more quickly nowadays. This could be you and yours!