Want to feel more in charge?
Way back in 1999 when I first got help with for parenting my unruly toddler, the coach asked ‘Does your son know who is in charge?’. My husband and I laughed ‘Er, no, he runs rings around us.’. He used to shout things like ‘I’m the boss’ when we went to switch off the TV or tried to get him to do something he didn’t want to do.
Want to know why this isn’t a good idea?
Children get their security from boundaries and predictability. They need us to steer the ship.
So how can we do that without turning into a sergeant major? Like us back then, maybe you are afraid of being too authoritarian so you swing the pendulum to being too lenient?
Here are my 10 top tips for feeling more in charge:
- Start with one or two of your ‘hot spot’ areas and decide on exactly what you want to have happen. So for example – do you want your child to help tidy up his toys without a fuss and not run off as soon as it is time to clear up? Would you like them to get in or out of the bath without a fuss?
- Take one or two of these ‘Hot Spot’ areas and make a chart (written, drawings or photos are good depending on your child’s age) of the rules you want your kids to follow – break it down into small steps, so instead of ‘Good bath time’ make a list of each step 1. Come to the bath when I call you. 2. Take off your clothes. 3. Put dirty clothes in the laundry basket. 4. Use the toilet before bathtime 5….
- Train yourself to notice the positives and praise them in detail – what is your child doing that you are perhaps taking for granted? Does he eat broccoli without a fuss? Does she share toys quite readily?
- If your child refuses to do something, don’t get into a battle. Stop, zip your lip and wait. It won’t be long before they want something of you at which point you reply ‘yes, as soon as you have done x, y, z’
- Children often react badly to transitions, so whereas we are so often thinking ahead to the next thing that needs to be done, they live in the moment so give plenty of warning to them for the next thing they need to do. ‘You are having such a lovely time with your drawing. In five minutes’ time I’m going to ask you to put it away and come for your bath’
- Ask more questions than give orders ‘What do we do after the bath?’, ‘How do we need to be sitting at the table?’
- Give yourself times to re-charge. Think of a phone battery. You NEED time to care for yourself in order to be a good parent.
- At the end of each day write down 5 things you did that day that were examples of effective parenting – this will feel hard at first but it will get easier the more you do it. An example ‘I got breakfast prepared ahead of time and we ate together chatting’
- Don’t compare yourself to other parents who you think do a better job than you. It will only make you feel worse!
- Don’t compare your kids to other ‘perfect kids’. This will make you miss all the good things yours are actually doing and make you feel more resentful of them.
If you would like some help to be a better parent, lets set up a time for a free initial phone consultation