Parenting Concepts


Well, last post I thought I might go take down some of my notes from the parenting class Isa and I attended back in the Fall, so here it goes! I know there is a lot more content we went over that didn’t make it in here, but I think these notes may be hard enough to follow without more content!


What is our role as parents to our children?
P=preparing for life (their temperament is fixed, but their attitude & interactions can be molded!)
A=actions (teach values not only through words but in our actions!)
R=respect (it’s a 2-way street!)
E=enjoy (take the time to enjoy life and parenthood!)
N=consistent (follow-through with what we say!)
T=think (before speaking/acting; it takes patience!)
S=self-esteem (we must raise their confidence so they can go out on their own)

How do we Influence them?
It is easy in the name of parenting to do and say things that really aren’t very helpful.
Things that we can do to discourage:

  • negative expectation
  • focusing on mistakes (criticism)
  • expecting too much (perfectionist)
  • expecting too little (overprotective)
  • put-downs

Things that we can do to encourage:

  • showing confidence
  • building on their strengths
  • highlighting good jobs done (catch them being good!)
  • valuing the child
  • stimulating independence
  • specific praise (be sincere and descriptive!)

To help us identify if we are encouraging/discouraging, put ourselves in the child’s place and what we would THINK, FEEL and DO in response to what we are saying/doing to them.

The thought is that praise and compliments lift and build up a child MUCH more than criticism and punishment. I don’t believe we are ignoring their failures, but identifying these weaknesses meekly and helping them in getting better.

Positive Feedback Examples
We are all aware short praise we can say to our children like:

  • I love you
  • you’re great
  • outstanding!
  • thanks for helping
  • how thoughtful!
  • you’re so smart

but it can be even more effective when we are specific. Try using one of these with what specifically you want to praise and be sincere!:

  • I like it when you…
  • It’s nice when you…
  • Thanks for…
  • What a nice thing you did for me by…
  • I’m very proud of you when you…
  • I bet you’re pleased with how well you…

Disciplining our Children
Before getting to how to discipline, let’s review some tactics our kids use:

  • badgering
  • intimidation
  • threats
  • martyrdom
  • buttering up
  • physical

The 1-2-3 Magic method deals with all these tactics the exact same way – count it. The child wants something they know they aren’t going to get (badgering) – you say “that’s 1”. Maybe they try a different tactic like threats in saying they won’t do what they know they need to do like homework – you say “that’s 2”. They see it’s still not working, so maybe they try to get nice and butter you up maybe complimenting how great dinner was and then ask for it again – you say “that’s 3 and take 5”. Take 5 means they take a 5 minute timeout in their room.
Rules to follow for 1-2-3 Magic:

  • Count each tactic they try
  • When 3 has been reached, they must take 5 minute timeout in specific location (bedroom works great for us) and they MUST stay in there
  • If it is really bad, you can jump straight to “that’s 3 and take 5” and you can also make it be take 10 or take 15.
  • If you don’t reach 3 in 15 minutes, reset the count to none
  • They can do stuff in their room during the 5 mins but no electronics/phone/friends
  • After the 5 minutes is up, tell them they can come back out
  • don’t argue (too much talking) and don’t get angry (too much emotion) EVER
  • If you’re on the phone, use the fingers to count it out
  • Before starting to use this method, have a conversation and explain these new rules (there is a Kick-Off Conversation template…)

However, 1-2-3 Magic won’t handle everything. We still need to have consequences for actions. Here’s a few things to consider:

  • Choose your words wisely
    • thinking words not fighting words
      • THINKING WORDS: Feel free to go out when you have cleaned your room.
      • FIGHTING WORDS: You get to work right now!
    • So statements are enforceable by you
      • NOT ENFORCEABLE: Please sit down. We are going to eat now.
      • ENFORCEABLE: You may east as soon as you are seated.
      • NOT ENFORCEABLE: Don’t talk to me in that tone of voice!
      • ENFORCEABLE: I’ll listen as soon as your voice is as calm as mine.
    • So choices you offer you can live with
      • Don’t respond with a statement that they are NEVER allowed to use an item again – instead disallow use for a week
  • Choose consequences accordingly
    • natural consequences – these happen without you doing anything
      • respond to them with empathy that lets the consequence do the teaching – not you!
    • logical consequences – punishment you set down fits the “crime”
    • impact consequences – use what works (losing privileges) so they can see this is not desired

Discipline Action Plan:

  1. Describe the behavior
  2. Calmly communicate your expectation that this behavior will change
  3. State the (natural/logical/impact) consequence: IF ___ THEN ___
  4. Follow through! Expect them to test the behavior again and again…
  5. Reward with positive feedback/specific praise

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