Monday, October 25, 2010

what I'm reading: some great parenting advice from our school newsletter

One of the (many) surprising things about parenting is how easy it is to argue with your kids. Before you have kids, it looks so simple. You ask your child to do something. They disobey. You discipline them. They obey.

That's before the clever comebacks start. "It's not fair!" "You love him more than me!" "You always think it's my fault!" "Why are you always cross?" "Why do I have to do it? Just tell me why, Mummy!" Emotional manipulation dressed up as ... well, as emotional manipulation (but it works, because it's aimed at your weakest points, guilt and self-doubt).

Before you know it, you're arguing back. "Of course I love you!" "I'm not cross. At least I wasn't until you started arguing!" "It is so fair." (At this point your grammar, like your temper, is deteriorating.) The argument escalates into 10 exhausting minutes of "You said" - "I said", and all your images of competent parenting end up on the cutting room floor.

Which is why I love this parenting advice from, of all places, our school newsletter's hints on parenting (which I normally resent for its superior, PC tones). This advice is supposed to be about boys; but I think it's mums and girls, with their verbal dexterity, who need to hear this most of all.

Repeat demands quietly without getting into arguments. This is called the 'broken record' technique and differs from nagging in that you just repeat the instruction quietly, rather than embellishing upon the theme. It's more effective and a lot less exhausting!

Never get into a 'whodunnit' battle. So, don't get into a battle about the truth; just jump to the consequence. State what the problem is then get them to fix/clear it up.

Another technique is 'fogging'. Agree with comments and then instruct e.g. when your child is doing homework and gets distracted saying, 'I like this song', respond with 'Yes, now back to your reading.'

My loving, good authority is the way my children learn about God's loving, good authority.

Quote is based on advice from Dr Ian Lillico, Churchill Fellow and author.

image is from TheeErin at flickr


Deb L said...

Thanks, Jean! This is being put to work in our house this week. We have a daughter who is fast becoming an expert in reasons why she can be late for school.

Heather Braoudakis said...

We are doing everything we can to give our son the foundation and understanding he needs to succeed in his faith and life. I've been reading a great new book by Dr. Tony Evans. One of the goals of the book is to help parents grow in confidence as they discover their worth as a parent based on God's Word. He says just what you are saying, "Instructing your children in the Lord means spending time with them so they can see how you live out the gospel." It’s called "Raising Kingdom Kids: Giving Your Child a Living Faith." He says, "It's far easier to SHAPE A CHILD than to REPAIR AN ADULT. Raising kids who recognize and retain their identity as children of the King launches healthy adults who have the capacity to stand strong in their faith." Equipping and guiding our children starts with us, parents! This is the most solid, thorough, inspirational and affirming parent book I've ever read! I love it and HIGHLY recommend it for all parents!