Parenting Tips and Tools Part 1: What We Weren\’t Told and Strategies That Work
Can parents be too kind? We hear a lot about punishments and the negative results of punishments. But what about the parents who are trying “to be positive;” who feel like their children are not listening, not being responsible, and are being disrespectful despite how “positive” they are being?
With every intention to be supportive and be kind, trying hard not to end up or be a “yelling punishment parent,” we may end up feeling taken advantage of, walked over, and baffled by why our children are not acting towards us like we act towards them. What to do?
Parenting is a balancing act. Yes, come from a place of love, respect, flexibility, and nurturance, but develop clear hierarchical boundaries, allow children the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from their own mistakes, trust that children can handle and manage their disappointments, and teach values. Tools that can help are collaborative problem-solving together, validating feelings rather than fixing, and following through with agreements and solutions.
I call this speaking to the feeling, sit with your child and their feelings, offer hugs and a listening ear, but don’t fix the feeling.
Parent: “Yes, I’d be upset too.”
Show understanding and use logical consequences:
Use empathy and use when you… then you.
Parent: “I know you would rather be playing Minecraft than doing homework, me too… When you finish your homework, you can play.”
Change the thought process or your child’s focus.
Parent: “You don’t want to get your clothes on for the game, and you want to play the game… let’s race to see who can get to your clothes the fastest!”
Provide a limited choice:
Offer children 2 equally doable, responsible, and respectful options.
Parent: “Do you want to do your homework first or do you want to practice piano first?”
Collaboratively Problem Solve (Greene, 2009) and Follow Through on the Solutions (Nelsen, 2012).
Learn about Collaborative Problem Solving in Part 2 of this series next week!
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Catherine Gruener, LCPC, NCC, DCC, PDTC. Catherine is a multi-certified and licensed clinical professional counselor, nationally and internationally known for her parent training programs. She is the owner of Gruener Consulting and the Chief Executive Officer of the Encouragement Parenting Division.