Have your kids ever left you speechless and you just aren’t sure what to say at that exact moment? This has happened to me.
This is the last session of the “How to Practice ‘Love and Logic’ Parenting” series. I hope you have enjoyed this information and it has helped you. I love the “Love and Logic” parenting methods and have found that they really help to make me feel confident as a parent (especially in today’s world) and also help my children to feel confident and loved.
The information presented here is from the Love and Logic (www.loveandlogic.com) “Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun!” class and workbook. It in no way takes the place of the actual class, which I highly recommend, but just gives you some great pointers on “What to Do When Your Kids Leave You Speechless.”
In this session you will learn:
- What to do when your kids act in ways that leave you thinking, “What do I do now?”
- Why it’s often okay to buy yourself some time briefly delaying consequences
- What to do when your kids really drain your energy with misbehavior
- How to start looking forward to your kids acting up!
I am sure your child(ren) have done something that leaves you speechless, right? I know mine have. Some parents issue threats they can’t enforce during these speechless times. Some yell, spank or ignore the problem. Some bribe kids with candy or toys. These approaches create kids that are a nightmare to be around (I know you have all been around this type of child and it is not pleasant).
What this session talks about is how wise parents give themselves some time to put together a foolproof strategy for training their kids to behave more respectfully and responsibly.
- Give yourself some time to think and calm down. As children get older, they become capable of learning from consequences that don’t come immediately after they misbehave. This enables us to avoid fighting unwinnable battles our kids think they have gotten away with misbehaving.
- Get some support from others. Now that you have time to think and calm down, talk to someone you trust – a friend, relative, neighbor, etc. Smart parents get some help putting together a plan that won’t backfire. A critical question to ask is, “What might go wrong with our plan?” Make sure to “plug the holes before you launch the boat”. Successful Strategic Training Sessions often take more than one person to carry out. This person might be a babysitter who shows up at the last minute so that you can go to the store in peace, get to work on time, etc. Or, this person might unexpectedly show up at church, a restaurant, etc. and take your misbehaving child back home.
- Rehearse your plan. Don’t carry out your plan until you are absolutely sure that you can do so without breaking a sweat.
- Don’t follow through until you have the energy. Wait until you are relaxed and have energy before carrying out your plan.
When you don’t know what to do, delay the consequence.
With empathy say: “This is sad. I’m going to have to do something about this. We’ll talk later.”
Take time to put together a plan that you feel confident with.
Again with empathy, follow through with your plan… and let the consequence do the teaching.
If a child is old enough to remember a promise, he or she is old enough for delayed consequences.
The Energy Drain –
How to Creat an Effective Consequence When None Seems to Exist
What do we do when we don’t know what consequence to give for our child’s behavior?
When you can’t think of an effective consequence, have an Energy Drain.
Step 1: Inform them of your energy drain. Imagine that your child has just lied to you. What a wonderful time to say, “Oh no. What an energy drain. I need some time to rest. We’ll talk later.”
Step 2: When everyone is calm, ask how they plan to replace your energy. Say something like, “Remember when I told you that my energy was drained? This is so sad. How are you going to put that energy back into me?”
Step 3: If their eyes glaze over, ask them if they’d like some ideas. When asked how they plan to replace energy, most kids will shrug their shoulders and mumble, “I don’t know.” When this happens, ask, “Would you like to hear some ideas?”
Step 4: Give them a menu of “energy replacement options.” Say, “Some kids decide to __________. How will that work for you?” Just fill in the blank with something you’d really like done. For example, some kids decide to…
- Pick up sticks in the yard
- Clean the tubs and sinks
Step 5: Allow them to either learn from success or learn from mistakes. Don’t make the mistake of telling your child which option to pick, reminding them to do it or delivering threats. Instead, pat them on the back and say, “Are you going to do one of these things before or after dinner? You decide. I love you.”
You don’t want to remind or tell them what to do. You want it to be their responsibility so they can either think, “Look at me. I did it!” or “Uh oh. That wasn’t such a good idea! I better remember next time!”
What should you do if they forget or refuse? Some parents decide to be “too tired” to do the extra things their youngsters want. Other parents decide to “sell” one of their child’s toys, hire a babysitter and go on a date with their spouse. All wise parents remember to do this with lots of empathy and no sarcasm.
I hope that this series has helped you. I know it has reminded me of what I learned when I first took the Love and Logic parenting class. I have been implementing these strategies and they really do work. Please leave a comment if you have found that they help you, too, and which methods you have adopted.
It’s all about the journey…