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
My sister-in-law called me yesterday looking for some help and ideas with her little ones. She was very frustrated because they won't mind her and they tell her no when she asks them to do something. She said she is tired of nagging and wants to be a happy Mom. I think we have all been there more than we want. She was looking for positive solutions that will nip it quick. So what did I tell her?
You guessed it! I said, "Get out Dr. Latham's book and read what he tells you to do!" Well, I didn't tell her that at first, but of course I added that in at the end of our conversation! His book has the solution for every parenting issue. I told her she could try what I did one summer that had great results and focused on the positive.
One year when my boys were younger, I was at the end of my rope when it came to them being obedient the first time I asked them to do something. I was tired of having to tell them over and over what I expected. After a while that really wears on you. So instead of ME doing the talking, I decided to let the consequences do the talking. I made a chart with each of their names on it and explained that they would get rewarded with a sticker each time they obeyed the FIRST time I asked them to do something. We called the chart: I AM A FIRST TIMER! I told them that at the end of each day if they had a certain amount of stickers (ours was five) then they would earn a privilege for the next day like riding their bike, or playing with friends, watching TV, playing video games, etc. The key here is it has to be something the child REALLY likes or wants. Otherwise there is no motivation. Each child is different and you may have to really think hard to come up with what will work. But it will pay off!
If you don't get into charts, then you could have them place a piece of paper in a jar each time they obey the first time. Just come up with some way to track the behavior. Then the next day when they ask for that privilege, all you have to do is say, "I don't know, what does your chart say?" Let the consequences do the talking! It falls back on their shoulders. The chart is the heavy, not you. It won't take long for them to see how this works and the problem of noncompliance will vanish for the most part. Eventually replace the stickers with hugs and thanks.
Remember these points:
- The key here is to make sure the child knows exactly what is expected, the time frame, and the consequences. It might even be a good idea to do a role play before you set it in place. You can remind them in a positive way if you need to, but don't say one word if they disobey. Let the consequences do the talking. If the garbage doesn't get taken out that particular time, the world will not come to an end. If on the other hand, it is something that needs to be done now, go ahead and do it yourself. Say nothing. But when the child wants to watch TV or ride their bike, those privileges are not available. They have not been earned... as a failure to comply.
- Be sure when they do obey the first time you lavish praise on them and give them your attention then.
- Don't allow them to pull you into arguments over the logic or sense of what you expect them to do. And trust me they will! Just restate your expectations and leave it at that. When they do try and argue with you use understanding but don't argue. Just repeat your expectations again. Dr. Latham calls this the broken record strategy.
- Remain calm and in complete control when they have not obeyed or done what you asked them to. Your mood will have an immense impact on the child's behavior. Your being calm will instill in them a sense of security.
- And most importantly, always be on the lookout for opportunities to let your children know how much you appreciate what they do. A hug or just a word of praise really goes a long way!
For more on this read Chapter 19 ~ Refusing to Do as Told ~ in The Power of Positive Parenting.As always...good luck, and as Dr. Latham used to say: