Some of you have seen my posts about common discipline mistakes even the best parents make. Mom.me has just posted a re-working of those ideas as a gallery with pictures. It begins like this:
Because we’re always parenting our children, it takes real effort to look at our discipline strategies objectively. Good intentions can become less-than-effective habits quickly, and that can leave us operating blindly, disciplining in ways we might not if we thought much about it. Here are some parenting mistakes made by even the best-intentioned, most well-informed moms, along with practical suggestions that might come in handy the next time you find yourself in one of these situations.
[This is a revised version of the first article in a two-part series. Click here to see the second four mistakes.]
Because we’re always parenting our children, it takes real effort to look at our discipline strategies objectively. Good intentions can become less-than-effective habits quickly, and that can leave us operating blindly, disciplining in ways we might not if we thought much about it. Here are some parenting mistakes made by even the best-intentioned, most well-informed parents, along with practical suggestions that might come in handy the next time you find yourself in one of these situations.
Common Discipline Mistake #1: We lay down the law in an emotional moment, then realize we’ve overreacted.
Have you reacted in a way that was a bit “supersized” for the behavior you were trying to address? Maybe your child’s actions didn’t warrant such a dramatic pronoucement: “You can’t go swimming for the rest of the summer!” Or maybe the consequences even had to do with something you were counting on: “Stop calling your brother names or you can’t go to Grandma’s house today.” Of course, she again calls him “stinky-head” and calls your bluff. Your options at this point are to either miss your lunch with your friends or show your child that you don’t mean what you say.
In these moments, give yourself permission to rectify the situation. Obviously, follow-through is important once you’ve set boundaries; otherwise, you’ll lose credibility in your child’s eyes and your child will not have the security of knowing where the limits are. But there are ways to be consistent and still get out of the bind you’re in. For example, Continue Reading »
How well do you handle yourself when you’re upset with your kids?
Me? Sometimes I respond extremely well, making myself proud of how loving and understanding and patient I remained. At other times, I lower myself to my kids’ level and resort to the childishness that upset me in the first place.
My message to you today is that when you respond to your kids from a less-than-optimal place, take heart: most likely, you’re still providing them with all kinds of valuable experiences.
For example, have you ever found yourself so frustrated with your kids that you call out, a good bit louder than you need to, “That’s it! The next one who complains about where they’re sitting in the car, has to sit in that same seat for the rest of the year!”
Or maybe, when your eight-year-old pouts and complains all the way to school because you made her practice her piano, you say, with your parting words as she departs the mini-van, “I hope you have a great day, now that you’ve ruined the whole morning.”
Obviously, these aren’t examples of perfect parenting. And if you’re like me, you beat yourself up for the times when you don’t handle things like you wish you had.
So here’s hope: Those not-so-great parenting moments are not necessarily such bad things for our kids to have to go through. In fact, they’re actually incredibly valuable.
Why? Because these less-than-perfect parental responses Continue Reading »
There’s no question about it: consistency is crucial when it comes to raising and disciplining our children. Many parents I see in my office realize that they need to work on being more consistent – with bedtimes, limiting junk food, or just in general – when they interact with their kids. But there are others who have placed such a high priority on consistency that it’s moved into a rigidity that’s not good for their kids, themselves, or their relationship.
Let’s begin by getting clear on the difference between the two terms. Consistency means working from a reliable and coherent philosophy so that our kids know what we expect of them, and what they should expect from us. Rigidity, on the other hand, means maintaining an unswerving devotion to rules we’ve set up, sometimes without having even thought them through. As parents, we want to be consistent, but not rigid.
Kids definitely need consistency from their parents. They need to know what the rules are, and how we will respond if they break (or even bend) those rules. Your reliability teaches them about cause and effect, and about what to expect in their world. More than that, it helps them feel safe; they know they can count on you to be constant and steady, even when their internal or external worlds are chaotic. In this way, we provide them with safe containment when they’re exploding because they want an extra scoop of ice cream.
So how do we maintain consistency without crossing over to rigidity? Well, let’s start by acknowledging that there are some non-negotiables. For instance, under no circumstances can you Continue Reading »
“That’s not fair!” How often do you hear it? If your kids are anything like mine, you hear it a lot.
One day I got sick of telling them that “Life isn’t fair.” It didn’t seem to be registering. So instead, we started to tell our kids that in our family, fair does not mean equal. If one of us has to get a shot, we don’t ALL get shots. Only the person who NEEDS the shot gets it.
The underlying principle is that everyone in the family will get what they need, and that needs are different from wants. So when one of them needs new shoes, and the other one wants new shoes, Continue Reading »