I am always amazed at how much I don’t know in parenting. Just when I think I have a certain part of my life in order with systems where the kids are thriving, something can throw things off. It could be sickness, new attitudes entering into the kids’ vocabulary, different stages of development, or just fatigue and traveling.
Today I participated in a great webinar, sponsored by The Power of Moms, from Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions. One thing she said jumped out at me. She said that our intuitive ideas to deal with behaviors in children are not always the right approach. I have often felt I had pretty good instincts, had good parents myself, and that I have a generally effective approach. But time and again I have come up short in solutions on various parenting dilemmas. So the webinar today was about how to get kids to listen without nagging, reminding or yelling. I feel like lately I have done too much reminding, mostly because the kids don’t always listen the first time.
So Amy shared some powerful tools. First was that kids misbehave for different reasons than we think. Children need to feel emotional belonging within their family by getting sufficient positive attention. They need to feel powerful and capable in their environment. This can be achieved by giving them independence, a sense of autonomy, free will and control over their lives. When there is a lack of feeling of power or emotional wholeness, misbehavior comes out. I took a look at my children and found some areas where we could improve on giving more positive attention and handing over control.
The next portion of the webinar explored how consequences should not feel like punishment. Punishment means the child feels blame, shame or pain. So if a consequence gives them shame or blame or pain, the child may resort to lying to avoid those feelings. Effective consequences have 5 R’s. They must be respectful, both in tone of voice and the way it is given. The consequence must be related to the misbehavior. They should be reasonable in duration of time. The consequence needs to be revealed in advance. And the child should be able to repeat the consequence back to the parent.
Consequences should only be used 10-15% of the time. Often we need to take time and let things go. We need to hand over the responsibility to our children in following through with the rules in the house. It was a great webinar. During it, we could type questions and responses at the bottom of the screen. A couple of times, she said, Julia….and answered one of my questions. It felt like I was getting some personal coaching.
I got an email today from another parenting organization, Clear Path Parenting. They gave a great tip I used already today. It was how to avoid temper tantrums in kids. One child is prone to anger and power struggles. So the strategy is to answer them with the phrase, “I know” when they are arguing about something. So I tried it tonight and used that simple phrase, and it totally diffused the negative energy I was getting from that child.
Well, parenting is never easy, but it is totally worth it. I am grateful today to be learning some great strategies to help me guide my kids and show them more love and diffuse negative energy. I am starting to think that all parents should have continuing education weekly or monthly or daily to help us navigate the tough spots of family life.