Posts tagged ‘child’

Parent Coach Tips: Parenting In Public

Toddler Smack Down

Toddler Smack Down

It happened again.  I’m at a bagel joint minding my own business when the 2 year old at the next table hauls off and whacks mom in the face.  I get that sinking feeling that I get when I know I’m about to watch 1) a woman go parental 2)a child be stripped of all dignity 3) I get a front row seat.  Let the inner moan begin…

But wait, what’s that I see?  Did Mom just say firmly, yet quietly, You Do Not Hit! as she moved the wee one away from her to the next seat and effectively stopped being a target?  Yes!  And when the toddler puts on her best face of horror and begins the crying that fully involves her bottom lip, am I mistaken that mom is unmoved and turns her attention to the other people, talking with them until the girl quiets down?  No I am not!  I am enthralled…

What I am witnessing is impeccable parenting, technically sound reactions and skill building lessons that this child (and her new baby brother) will benefit from for their lifetime and beyond.  Hurrah!  But wait there’s more…now mom turns her attention back to her calm child and asks if she is done.  With a meek yes, she is scooped back up to an embrace and the loving interactions continue as if nothing happened.  It was nothing short of breathtaking.

How many times have we seen nails-on-chalkboard parenting in public that has us warring inside between speaking up, getting involved and butting out?  People ask all the time what to do.  Emotionally, you want to respond but it may make things worse for the child later.  Responsibily, you are compelled to act, yet it seems you are passing judgement if you do.  Practically, it is not appropriate to offer unsolicited advice or redirect a struggling parent.  In the case of extreme violence, you know what to do.  If someone’s parenting style doesn’t gel with yours, the line is more blurred.

Here’s what I suggest; look for, seek out, encourage and notice the parenting marvels around you.  When you see something done well, go out of your way to let them know you noticed.  I went over to the table, complimented the baby, asked the sister’s name, then looked into that mom’s eyes and told her the way she handled her child just now, was just… beautiful.  We both teared up in the moment.   

Teacher use praise to motivate behavior we want to see more of, but it must be specific, not Good Job.  In sharing exactly what was so impressive, she got valuable feedback.  Find the parents like her, tell them how happy you are they are rocking it.  It feels awesome!

October 26, 2009 at 6:44 pm 1 comment

Parent Coaching: Want a child who is a pleasure?

Is Your Child Good?

Is Your Child Good?

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…

August 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm Leave a comment

Parent Coaching Tip: Referees Beware!

I'm Not Having Fun Now!

I'm Not Having Fun Now!

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.                                                                             

Would You:

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!

August 11, 2009 at 11:36 pm Leave a comment

Parent Coaching Tip: Are You To Blame? YES!

Do you take credit for the job you do?

Do you take credit for the job you do?

I have news for parents.  It IS all your fault. 

Your children are not flawed or incapable of minding you.  But parents do care about how kids turn out, so it is hard to stand there and say; I did this, I’m the reason I don’t like my own child.  As a Parent Coach, I hear many excuses for kid’s behavior.  Sick, tired, big day coming up, letters next to their name.  This keeps the pressure off the parents when the fan is on and things are hitting it.  I get that. 

What I don’t get is the opposite effect.  When parents I coach get results, (happens everytime, yes, everytime) they will “blame” something else for the turnaround they created!

One client visited an extended family who’s parenting they admire, and was surprised when the Aunt gave them a glowing parenting compliment, then shared it around the family!  They insisted it was just luck that it was a quiet day for their child!  NOT!

I just got off the phone with someone who’s two year old hit in frustration and had a meltdown 3 times a week.  It was so hard for Mom to endure.  Now this child may hit when thwarted, but then without a word, they go off to the sit spot for some thinking time on their own then stay there until invited back.  WOW!  Dad felt the hitting should be over by now, PLUS they had not realized or congratulated themselves on major progress!  This child has stopped losing control and is trusting the system they put in place.

I’m getting to work making sure parents know they are both the reason and solution for their parenting struggles; furthermore, they need to feel OK  to claim bragging rights when they become the rocking parents they dreamed they could be!  Find some rocking parents yourself and compliment them today.  But don’t let them tell you it’s the weather or the economy…

July 6, 2009 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

Parent Coaching: The Art of the Powerful Request

Use Parenting Skills That Work

Use Parenting Skills That Work

I love to tell this story.  My son asked me to work out of my office so he could watch a movie in the living room. I said, No Thanks to his Request and suggested he watch in the other room.  After a traditional begging round, I asked; did he want some coaching on a Request that might work?  Here’s the parenting talk of a Powerful Request:

It’s Not About You– Why would Mom not choose to move?  Too much trouble?  Consider her perspective, or ask…

Solve It– What can you do to show you are willing to go out of your way to give her a hand with the issue she has?

Tit For Tat- Are you asking a parent for a straight out favor?  What can a child do to sweeten the deal?  Think of a valuable thing to offer in kind.

Now he was ready;  he planned to help me move my work things into the office AND help unload the dishwasher too!  I encouraged him to use the new, improved Powerful Request for way better results.

He chose to watch his movie in the other room. 🙂  Was it a parenting fail?  NOT!

But get this:  I got to stay put, he got to powerfully choose the other room, he learned HOW to Powerfully Request in a way he will remember, he got Appropriate Power without bickering, arguing, Domination, head games, begging, or tantrums.  Very cool.

Try it!  Parenting that works is a thrill.

June 27, 2009 at 2:46 am Leave a comment

Parent Coaching Tip: Do You Do Too Much For Your Kid?

No Doubt About Their Skills

No Doubt About Their Skills

Oh come on, you know what I’m talking about…clearing dishes, tidying up, carrying bags for them, all the little niceties that you just do naturally as a way to say I love you.  There is a downside to treating a child this way that you need to know about.  They learn that the world is a magic place where things are taken care of for them with no concerete idea how clean laundry ACTUALLY gets back into the drawer.  But wait there’s more…and it’s worse!

When you manage your kids lives, run the routine, skipper the schedule, you send a message to your child = You Can’t Handle This.  Not only are you training them to be lazy, entitled, dependent and unskilled (gasp!)  They honestly begin to feel that there must be a good reason they manage nothing, they conclude they must not be capable.

The Fix?  Step back, fight the urge to do for them and invite them to handle things.  If that makes you cringe…that’s your first clue this is necessary.  Look for this behavior: they tell you what’s wrong (they are hungry or tired or bored) and wait expectantly for you to solve that for them.  Now, you will reply:  Thanks for letting me know.  Anything else?  (Don’t forget to smile!)  Until they make a real Request, Do Not Act. 

Let kids struggle, fall short, fail, be confused, get uncomfortable, feel frustrated and wonder how it will all turn out.  You can offer sage guidance but do it from the side, letting them know it is ultimately up to them to manage.  Use the word Manage; as in, “You can manage that, I know it.”  This gives them real world practice in problem solving and the golden ring of self esteem building:  actual accomplishment!

May 28, 2009 at 8:09 pm 2 comments

Parent Coaching Tip: Types Of Crying & Then What?

What Type Is This?

What Type Is This?

There are 6 Types of Crying if you care to learn them.  BTW the crying behavior looks different at different ages, so by crying I also mean, whining, fussing, yelling, bickering, complaining, name calling, and general verbal outbursts.  This could turn your Power Struggles around instantly. 

Sad or Hurt Crying is when you need to respond.  Don’t assume though, ask.  Are you hurt crying?  Are you sad about your friend moving?  If they are, provide kisses, bandaids, ice, hugs, comfort, listen and sympathize at will.  This is when they need you and need to deal with a feeling to get it out. 

Happy Crying is just like it sounds.  When they are that Happy, join them!  If you happen to be the one weeping with joy, say that so they don’t fret over you!

Tired Crying or Attention Crying are a means to an end that you may be able to help them with.  Think long car trips with cranky kids or upsets when you are on the phone and you see the problem.  It’s not what they need, it’s how they ask.  Teach them to say, “I’m tired,” when they need help settling down or the activity to quiet.  Model for them saying, “I want attention,” when they crave a piece of you.  Let them know that you will indulge them unless you absolutely can’t but they need to ask another way.  This works amazingly, try it!

Silly Crying is when they are trying to manipulate those around them to a different result.  Think of this type of behavior as a fire which must be starved of any and all oxygen in order to smother it!  As soon as you have a cryer, make sure it is not another type, if they just want something they can’t get (at the moment), that’s TBSS (Too Bad SO Sad).  This is where our parenting backbone is tested.  Be clear that if they use this crying, NOTHING will happen and NOTHING will go their way.  Be confident and do not undermine yourself!  Let’em wail and wait it out (preferably in another room) when they have self control back, you talk.  Not before.

April 17, 2009 at 5:45 pm Leave a comment

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Dawn Roth

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