Why did I research this?
When we go through wild patches in my home and my children become whiney, short tempered, rude and demanding, I want to remember what worked last time. I want to know exactly what to do so I can nip that naughtiness in the bud.
What did I find out?
I found that there are plenty of solutions to suit a range of needs, wants and families. Some may be relevant now and others may be relevant later, depending on the child and the family.
- Getting the essentials sorted – nature, play and sleep. Nature is calming, playing has a sense of freedom and creativity about it and sleeping; well we all know how fantastically restorative this is. Think about yourself when you’ve had a walk along the beach, had a play with your new boots and slept like a log. You feel wonderful and less inclined to defy, oppose and throw wobblies.
- Spending some regular 1:1 quality time together because when we feel loved and nurtured we are more inclined to please and cooperate. I’m not talking a whole day. What about a walk around the block, half an hour of Guess Who? or a hot chocolate on the front verandah together? Quality time turns negativity around very quickly in my home.
- Acknowledging more feelings and setting more boundaries. “I think you are feeling disappointed that I’ve said no to the park. Is that right? I understand. Disappointment is such a yak feeling. We can make a time to go to the park when it suits everyone in the family.” Set the rules (or values and expectations) straight. Write them down and make them visible somewhere so you can simply point to them rather than saying them again and AGAIN. It’s also much easier to remember things you have seen rather than heard.
- Small steps – Children need to be taught the replacement behaviour and modelling is the best way to do this. One goal at a time is far more successful than 5 goals at a time. Knowing what you’d like to see instead of everything you don’t want to see (or hear) is far more efficient than trying to teach 5 new behaviours.
- Noticing the good. Yes you are tired but if you see it and you don’t say that you have noticed it, you are not reinforcing the behaviour you’d prefer to see. Train your child to get noticed when she is doing the right thing rather than the other way around.
How is this useful?
Less attitude, rudeness, whinging and fighting will bring you more peace and happiness. Not only that, you will feel successful that you can change unwanted behaviours and feel empowered to keep teaching, which is what discipline is aint it!