This week’s My Mountain post is a little different as we’ve got some expert advice from lifecoach Karen Becker, who specialises in working with divorced and blended families. Today she is kindly sharing her parenting advice.
When I teach Love & Logic or my Balanced Parenting Class I get the same questions in every session:
- How can I get my children to stop arguing, screaming, or yelling when
I tell them no?
- How do I get my children to do their chores?
- How do I teach my children to speak to me with respect?
It’s like clockwork. The classes start with my asking what their biggest issues are, and each one of these questions will come out of the parent’s mouths in every class. If you’re like most parents, you’re feeling the pain of at least one of these on a daily basis.
The secret to overcoming these issues comes down to 3 things you can change that will change how your children react to you.
Children need to feel a part of something, positively. How are you talking to your children on a daily basis? There was a statistic I just heard that said we spend an average of 7 minutes per day talking TO our children and the rest of it is spent talking AT them. Take a step back and review a day. How many, “Get your shoes on”, “Clean up that mess”, “Where’s your homework” or other statements did your kids get? How many times did you engage in an actual conversation with them?
For most parents, they’re amazed at how little they talk to their children. It’s an important awareness parents make. Think about jobs you’ve had. If your boss only talked to
you when they told you what to do, how motivated would you be to do what they asked? If you’re like me, you wouldn’t be very motivated. Instinctively, you put up walls, am I right? Why would it be any different for your kids?
Everyday, find something positive they do and thank them for it. Make eye contact when you greet them in the morning and when you say goodnight at the end of the day. Smile at them when you can and know that just changing those few things will help motivate them to want to help you.
Children need to see the results of their actions. Your job as parents is to teach your children the skills needed to be self-sufficient, successful adults, right? Start with the end in mind. What happens when you do a good job at work? Raises, promotions, and positive reinforcement in the form of awards and recognition, right? What about if you’re doin a poor job at work? Maybe you get written up, you lose out on promotions, you don’t get a raise. Why would it be any different for children? Because they’re children, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this, but the basics are the same. Whether their action was positive or negative, they should see the results: positive or negative. (Hint: Kids also need to know what they should be doing before they’re expected to do it.)
Children need to know that mistakes happen. Yes, kids will make mistakes, as do you and I. What happens when you make a mistake? Shame washes over you, doesn’t it? You feel shame because you feel like it shouldn’t have happened or that it could have been avoided. You feel shame and fear because if someone else notices, what will they think of you? The same applies to your kids.
Your kids are watching you for cues, so when you make a mistake, the way you handle it shows them how to handle it. When they make a mistake, you may need to guide them on the path to emotion regulation, but doing that teaches them a great lesson: mistakes happen, how you deal with them either moves you past the mistake or keeps you reliving it.
That’s it. Those are the secrets. By following those 3 steps, it can change your house and the way it works. I’ve worked with hundreds of parents over the years and can attest to the fact that changing your mindset just a little bit can have the biggest impact.
Karen Becker is a Family Coach who has spent years working with couples, one-on-one and in groups, as they transition from parenting together in a relationship to co-parenting. Her own experiences as a co-parent have helped build curriculum, communication techniques and worksheets that help clients take the negative emotion out of their relationship and put the focus on the children. She has helped many rebuild their lives after a divorce or separation whether children were involved or not. She has a Master’s Degree in Counseling and applies these skills when coaching clients.
We have just two guest posts remaining in this series so if you’d like to share you biggest parenting challenge please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here for more details.