- Easily get kids to listen – the FIRST time. No yelling or reminding...not even once!
- Put an end to daily power struggles. Bedtime became a breeze, and all the dawdling, chore wars, sibling rivalry, and mealtime meltdowns disappeared.
- Reduce backtalk by HALF! It’s simple once you know the secrets of these two ‘buckets.’
- Say goodbye to punishments that DON’T work. There’s a 5-step formula that works WAYYY better than time-outs.
- Feel amazing, confident, and empowered as a parent, every day. I NEVER go to bed feeling guilty anymore! (Okay, well maybe sometimes…’mom guilt’ is still a thing.)
Tip: use the same respect and tone of voice with your child as you would use with friends and co-workers. Your children hear much more from your tone than from the words themselves. Do you raise your voice? Have you been complaining, negotiating, melting down? Lead by example. If you don't want to hear backtalk from your kids then don't talk back to them.
As a first step, try smiling more and using a calm voice. Doing so will help you relax in times of stress, and your kids will notice and keep their behavior more positive, too.
Don't fall in the trap of arguing with your kids. You can avoid escalating a situation by simply walking away (or hiding in the bathroom). This ensure you don't lose your cool and start raising your voice. Take a breath and calm down. If necessary, count to ten before responding. Don't fight fire with fire. Keep calm and carry on.
2. Ignore Bad Behavior
Tip: just ignore it, it is never helpful or effective to scold or nag a child about behavior that’s not harming anyone. The last thing you want to do is reward any bad habit by paying attention to it.
Of course this approach won't be instant since established habits can be hard to break, but once the attention disappears, the behavior will usually too. Try focusing instead on positive behaviors and encouraging those.
Another time to ignore bad behavior is sibling fighting. While this sounds counter-intuitive and goes against every parental instinct you have, stay out of your kids fights. Tip: ignoring sibling fights removes the payoff, which is to get the parent’s attention. If it’s a simple case of name-calling or a toy dispute, avoid playing referee–instead, simply walk to another room. By doing this, you’ll remove any attention pay-off your children are seeking, and give them an opportunity to resolve the conflict on their own. Of course if the fight escalates or becomes physical, you will need to step in. But try giving them a chance first, not only will it help them learn to resolve their own conflicts, it will relieve you of having to step in every time.
Just like adults, children want to feel in control. Kids don't have a ton of choices on a daily basis and that can be frustrating. A great way to stop over-parenting is by allowing your kids to make their own choices as much as possible. This will empower them, build their sense of significance and teach them critical decision making skills. Plus, when your child has a couple options to consider, it focuses them on the decision itself rather than any objections they may have.
Tip: provide your child with two choices for positive behaviors so that your child feels empowered and in control. Offering choices instead of making demands can be very effective. Letting them choose little things can have a huge impact. For younger kids you may want to provide them with two options. For example, you might say would you rather do your reading homework in your room or at the table? Or would you rather use the Batman toothbrush or the Spiderman toothbrush tonight? Older children can handle open ended questions like, what sport would you like to do this spring? Or what colleges would you like to visit?
One foundational belief of Positive Parenting is that kids have an innate need to feel significant. This means they need to be reminded of their self-worth, capabilities, and the value they bring to the family. Now more than ever, our kids need these reassurances.
Tip: to feel truly valued, kids need daily one-on-one time with us where we engage in something they want to do. Carve out 10 minutes of special time for each child, every day, where you do whatever they choose (within reason) and there are no distractions (no phones). This consistent quality time has been proven to reduce negative attention-seeking behaviors.
This special time will offset the ordering, correcting, and directing parents do, help build emotional bonds and fill your children's attention buckets. Plus, it's fun.
Tip: focus your words on the positive action, behavior, or improvement you’d like to promote, rather than on the result.
For instance, when you see your child struggling to control her emotions, perhaps say, “I can tell you are working hard to stay calm.”
It can also help reinforce better choices. “I appreciate you not getting upset when your brother took your truck. That must feel so good!”
It may be hard to get into the habit, but give it some time. I promise, the more encouraging phrases you use with your child, the more naturally they will come.