Don’t re-invent the wheel

It was a busy May and early June, my apologies that the blog has been a bit stagnant. Fret no more, the juices are flowing again and today’s post is more of a summary of many recent client sessions. Today I’ll write about parenting.

Square Bike Wheel

Parenting is the single hardest thing we do after relationship building and maintaining. Kids have this magical ability to sense our weakest moments and hone in for the kill, or so it seems at times. How tough is too tough? When is it OK to give in? What am I bringing to this kid-centric emotional mix?

Recently, many parents are reporting having a hard time with the balance of being tough and fun. We are all stretched a bit thin and so at the end of the day, when the homework isn’t done and the game is over and the shoes are still in the middle of the floor and the catbox hasn’t been cleaned out again – who wants to be “the bad guy”? Let our partner deal with it, I’m outta here. Or let me show my partner how it’s done – but are they even paying attention?

The crux of creating peace and balance at home is consistency and discipline. Kids (deep down) love knowing where the boundaries are and knowing that each time they check and the boundary hasn’t changed, this experience settles them so they can go on and play, make believe, be kids. If you are one of those parents that feels like the kids are picking you to death, then try this exercise in your home.

Ask kids what the rules are at school. In my experience they will trip over themselves to demonstrate that they absolutely know what they are. Then ask them what the rules are at home. (do we hear the sound of crickets chirping here?). If this is the case then I recommend the following: just adopt what already works. If your kids are well behaved at school, you consistently get good reports from teachers, then just implement the school rules at home. No re-inventing the wheel here, just adopt what they already know and understand. Brilliant! (or so I’ve been told)

Secondly, the words one uses makes a difference. Another seemingly brilliant yet utterly subtle shift is to use this phrase; “I am willing to allow (event/treat/activity) now, but the rule still stands”. This phrase, “I’m willing”, puts the parent back in the position of power. No longer is it kid winning over parent by relentless begging and wearing down, but parent letting kid know that it is parent who has made a decision, that they can take the decision away too. Subtle? Yes. But the underlying power message is clear.

Try it and see for yourselves.

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