Help for the Frazzled Mom!
Based on Dr. Glenn I. Latham's book The Power of Positive Parenting
"Behave well. Good parenting is first a matter of teaching, second a matter of modeling, and never a matter of reacting." Dr. Glenn I. Latham
Anyone who ever said parenting is easy, never had children.
Last week we talked about how important it is to have positive interactions with our children. This week, we are going to build on that because creating a positive environment in the home is a critical step in developing good relationships with our children. I have a quote by Dr. Latham, author of The Power of Positive Parenting, that is hanging in my laundry room, (I put it there because I spend so much time in there and wanted to see it often!) He said:
"Unless what you are about to say or do has a high probability for making things better, don't say it and don't do it."
We as parents must learn to ignore most of the age-typical "junk" behavior of our children. Dr. Latham claims that easily 95% of the things kids do and say that drive parents crazy should not be given any attention at all. NONE! Just turn and walk away. Just ignore it. It is simply age typical behavior. WHAT???? IGNORE IT???? And just exactly HOW is that done???? Good question. Thank you for asking! ☺ Just as the quote says above...don't say it and don't do it! Just walk away and ignore it. BEHAVIOR THAT DOES NOT GET ATTENTION SOON WEAKENS AND DIES. Notice the word "soon" is used. It doesn't say "immediately weakens and dies". When children argue with each other, just simply walk out of the room. Most of the time they are just performing, and if an audience gathers, it just encourages or reinforces the performance. We as parents tend to get frustrated with their behavior and don't know what to do or say. And out of that frustration we feel compelled to say or do something. But don't, unless it has a high probability of making things better...which is rarely the case. For every ounce of frustration we get off our chests by screaming at our kids, we put a pound of trouble on their shoulders as well as our own.
When I first learned this principle, I was really pretty skeptical. I had my doubts it would even work at all. Dr. Latham also promised that if we would simply ignore the inappropriate behavior that it would stop within minutes. He promised it would extinguish itself within three minutes if we totally ignored it. The next day I was able to put it to the test since we had a long drive. Sure enough the boys started to argue with each other and fight over some travel games we had. I turned around and was about to do my usual, "Will you please stop arguing and work it out!", but I resisted. I totally ignored the whole thing. Dave looked at his watch and we began timing. We kept looking at each other hoping to pass on the strength we each needed to NOT say a word. I must say it is much harder to do this in a mini-van than in a house! You can't just walk away. We had to bite our tongues more than a few times! I think my tongue was close to needing stitches! But within one minute and 15 seconds the behavior completely stopped. I was totally shocked. That was just not normal! It was almost like magic and within such a short time. It didn't take long for it to start back up again, but once again we ignored it. This time it was even harder to ignore because they began ranting, "Mom, he took my Power Ranger!", "Dad, he is squishing me, make him move over!", "Mom, he is looking at me!"... you know the dialogue as well as I do. But, we were empowered now because we had seen it work already and so we just ignored it as before. Dave started his watch again, and within less than 45 seconds (if I am remembering correctly), it completely stopped and they were all at peace once more. Oh boy, this was starting to get fun! It had become a game for us as parents. It worked each and every time. I was blown away! It is tough, I know, but so worth it! Try it. You have nothing to lose but a lot of un-happiness and bad behavior! (see Power of Positive Parenting pgs. 6-7) More next week...but in the meantime as Dr. Latham used to say...
Please take the time to watch the video clip below. It will re-emphasize how important it is to have positive experiences with our youth and leave you with a renewed outlook on how important parents really are in our children's lives. I got this from Karen's blog.
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