Today’s parenting tip that I have for you is so simple but it could change so many of the more frustrating conversations you have with your children. Are you ready? When your children are hounding you about doing something you don’t think is a good idea, instead of saying no and negotiating back and forth about when they can, how much, why not, etc. try framing the issue in terms of what they deserve. You know how this usually goes. You tell your child they can’t do something or they have to do something and they start to argue and negotiate. Why can’t I? All the other kids do! You’re mean! Until you wonder if it was really important in the first place, or their arguments become so darned sophisticated that they have convinced you to go against your better judgement in regard to their health and safety. Telling your kids what they deserve can end some of that and help you to keep focused on the main goal, the health and safety of your children. It looks like this:
Kid: Mom, the other kids in my class don’t have to sit in a booster car seat any more! (feel free to imagine this as a whine)
Mom: You deserve to be as safe as possible and the booster keeps you safe.
Kid: Why can’t I have another cookie? I only had a few!
Mom: You deserve to be healthy, let’s give your body the food it deserves.
Kid: Hey Dad, can I go to Joe’s party this weekend?
Dad: Will there be adults present?
Kid: But Dad! You don’t trust me?! I never get to do anything!
Dad: You deserve to be safe.
Framing your decisions this way will not save you from eye-rolls, huffing and puffing, or pouting all together. Nothing saves you from those things completely, but it may shorten some of the duration. It also saves some of the mental gymnastics for you. For every arguement they come up with about the same issue, you can stop and ponder for a moment, then repeat how much you feel as though they really deserve to be safe, healthy, free from hurtful relationship or friendships, etc. After all, it is difficult to argue back with someone telling you how important you are over and over. Also, remember that our internal self talk is shaped by the way we were spoken to by our parents. Wouldn’t you prefer that your child’s self talk as they grow be “I deserve to eat healthy foods” over “don’t eat that, it’s bad for you?”
- Two things your kids tell their therapists about you (help4yourfamily.com)
- Trash Your Behavior Charts! (help4yourfamily.com)
If you are a parent who is going to celebrate Easter or Passover this weekend please take a moment to remember a few things that will help the holiday’s go smoother.
1. Remember that your children have not done this holiday very many times yet. Even a ten-year old has only experienced this holiday 10 times and does not even remember the first two. Reviewing the expectations and schedule changes so kids can be prepared is very helpful. Will there be family gatherings that are different? Will you be playing outside finding eggs in your Sunday clothes? Is the church or synagogue service longer or done differently?
2. Remember that while we might be tense and/or worried about things like being around family members we don’t often see, or whether we will be able to pull off surprises for the kids, our children- while excited- are also picking up on the feelings and tone we set. If we overextend ourselves, our children will not have as good a time either. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard about the yearly parental meltdown around a holiday! This means, try to keep everyone on the same sleep schedule- including you. Eat and drink as needed… you get the picture.
3. Even though you already spoke with your child about what to expect for the holiday, if you are going anywhere else, gently remind them of the expectations again in the car on the way there. Also talk about adult’s expectations of them. You might be expecting them to act differently at grandma’s but they don’t know that unless you tell them, or after it’s already too late. You may even want to rehearse with a small child about what to do if they receive something unwanted. It is age appropriate for a child, even up to age six to ask if “that’s all” or to say they do not like something. Offer alternatives, like asking a parent quietly in the next room about whether more is coming to them, or saying thank you for a gift or treat they do not like.
4. Possibly most important. Allow yourself to be in and experience the joy of the present moment. Anything that goes wrong now are memories shared and as long as no one got permanently hurt- they are not disasters.
I hope everyone, whether you celebrate or not, has a wonderful weekend!
- 4 Rules parents can live by (help4yourfamily.com)
- This is your brain on attachment
- Last Chance for Two Great Opportunities
- Mother’s Retreat Weekend- It’s Really Happening!
- Stopping the Parent Shame and Blame Game
- Making Peace With Your Inner Critic
- Putting together something fun for you!
- Quick Jobs for Kids
- Staying Strong as a Couple
- Letting Go of the Parent You Thought You Would Be
- Add a Little Awe to Your Life
- Upcoming Trainings
- Older Kids with Bathroom Issues: Why Does it Happen? How Can You Help? Part 2