Are you looking for child behaviour solutions that really work?
As we approach Thanksgiving, I’ve no doubt there are parents out there trying to drift off to sleep at night with their calm thoughts being interrupted by visions of their preschooler screaming their head off during Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of enjoying warm fuzzies and thoughts of family bliss, they’re tossing and turning in their beds, wondering why getting together with family and friends is just so &$%#!&&# stressful! So for any parent looking for child behaviour solutions that really work, first you have to understand what’s going on.
Understand the real reason
For any parent, looking for peace of mind, there is really only one thing to keep in mind. That’s to understand that their worries about tantrum prone kids can melt away as easily as a knob of butter atop their mashed potatoes, if only they stop seeing their child’s behaviour as their child’s problem and see it as theirs instead.
I know that sounds strange, but you see when I go in to homes either in person or by Skype, many parents think that changing that behaviour is about the children. They want their children to stop doing X,Y and Z and think that if they can just get through to them to behave differently, the unpleasant behaviour will stop. It’s why tips are so popular because it’s as if the behaviour is about the behaviour. It’s not. It’s about them, the parent. Change the parent and you change the kids.
Take heart, you can fix it
Now if you’re personally struggling with your child’s behaviour, before you drown yourself in a very large glass of wine or beer because you think you’re an abject failure, take heart. I’m not saying that at all. Parenting issues are hugely common and most people are trying their hearts out. This really isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds because you’d be surprised how just a small tweak in how you frame the problem can lead to its speedy solution and I’m talking speedy, like before Thanksgiving dinner speedy. Just realizing that if you change how you react means you’ll change how the kids behave, is a huge first step.
Now there is a plus to this because changing you in many ways is easier than trying to innately change the kids. You see you’re a rational grown up. If someone says B follows A you’re not going to shout ‘no,’ throw and tantrum and hide under the chair. You’re going to see what’s happening because you have a well formed and mature brain that can compute what evidence is put in front of it.
You see trying to change kids without changing what you’re doing, is like putting the cart before the horse and will unfortunately lead you nowhere fast. That’s because literally everything you do day to day sends a message. It’s either a helpful message or an unhelpful message and will either lead to solutions or problems. No, you don’t have to evaluate everything you say but you do have to take a look to see generally where your natural tendencies lie.
So if you’re a parent looking for child behaviour solutions that really work, let’s take a look at things we commonly say as parents and let’s look at the messages they send, just for fun.
It’s time to go to bed, ok?
Translation: Bedtime is optional. If it’s not ok with them you are quite happy to stay up all night reading stories or doing whatever their heart desires.
Use Instead: Ok everyone, time for bed.
What do you want to do today?
Translation: I haven’t got anything to do all day but entertain you. Everyone’s needs in our family takes a back seat to your wants. Not your needs, your wants. Please direct my life. (Notice your leadership here has gone completely out of the window.)
Use instead: You can help mommy/daddy do groceries or whatever and then once we’re finished, we can play a game.
Do you want to go to the park?
Translation: I don’t know what I want to do with my day. I’m going to let you at (put in age) decide for me. After all, you know all about the obligations I have to fulfil during my day, don’t you?
Use instead: Let’s go to the park! (after you’ve decided of course when it works best for you.)
What do you want to eat?
Translation: I’m your personal chef. What are your orders for today?
Use instead: Yay, look what we have for dinner tonight. Chicken and veggies. Yum.
Now just in case you think using the sentences above are no big deal I would urge you to think again. If you had a guest that’s a grown up staying with you, all these would all be perfectly reasonable things to ask. What would you like to do? Where would you like to go etc? That’s because when a guest comes you go out of your way to make them feel super comfortable, relaxed and catered to. You put other things aside so they come first and when they finally leave, you probably sink exhausted on the sofa.
To find child behaviour solutions that really work, ask what you want for your kids?
So do you really want your children to feel catered to or do you want them to be part of something larger than themselves? By that I mean your family. Do you want them to feel that everyday you put their wants ahead of everyone else’s needs and all the other chores you have to do? Or do you want them to be doing things along side you, learning from you and bonding with you and being part of your activity? Do you want somebody that believes the world revolves around them, or do you want them to be a team player?
I don’t think anybody wants to end up with a child that screams their way through life, throwing fits when they don’t get their way. No parent wants to feel the gut busting discomfort that comes with feeling embarrassed that their child simply doesn’t know how to behave and is obnoxious. But doing something about it means being ok with being a regular human being that makes mistakes.
To come up with child behaviour solutions that really work, you not only have to understand your role in how the behaviour originated but also understand what is sustaining the behaviour as that is the key to changing it. It might be hard but you’ll be glad you did and just so you know, it’s entirely normal and human to struggle. If we all shared our struggles and we were open about it then I suspect the world would be a much happier place and we’d all realize that we aren’t as alone as we’d thought.
You can create child behaviour solutions that really work anytime
Any family gathering is stressful enough for parents. Whether it’s Christmas, Thanksgiving or just a weekend stay, all family visits come with obligations and heightened expectations. It can be a time of togetherness or it can be a time of stress. How it turns out is something only you can help with. For more on how I can help you with the tools to change your child’s behaviour permanently, please go to my services page.
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