Through trial and error one learns to parent. But I say, that if you can avoid trials and errors, then by golly lets do it!!! I learned most of this from LOVE and LOGIC and a few wise mothers.
Scenario #1. A question that involves careful wording and age appropriate information- “Mommy, where do babies come from?”
You freeze, get nervous, you’ve waited for this for 3 years now- what do you say?
A. From mommy’s tummy
B. From Mommy and Daddy’s love
C. I’ll tell you when you are older
D. You don’t need to know
OR: To stay on the same page as your child and say something age appropriate, you simply reply with this question: “Well, what do YOU think?”
Using this question you will learn what your child thinks and go from there. If they say, “From Heaven”. Then you can simply say “You are exactly right! You are so smart!” And that child feels smart, and confident and glad he came to you with his question. On the other hand, if you had just said options a,b,c, or d, you may have been stuck with saying too much or too little, confusing your child, wounding your child’s mind, or feeling rejected and possibly ashamed to have asked a hard question.
Scenario #2. THE ENDLESS WHY.
“Mommy, I don’t want to tie my shoes!!”
“Jackie, you need to put on your shoes quickly.”
Here is your answer for the rest of your parenting life: “Why do YOU think?”
This answer allows them the opportunity to not only share with you something he is thinking, and feel like you want to know what he knows, as well as give him time to think on his own, BUT it gives them the feeling that they have some control in the situation! Control is HUGE with kids, and all humans really. Anytime we have the chance to share in the control of the situation with kids while the parents are still ultimately in control is GOLDEN!
So Jackie thinks and will probably say something like “So my feet don’t get hurt on the rocks” and you can again, like in scenario #1 praise your child for a correct answer and let them know you appreciate how they want to protect their feet!
SO many situations that can be potentially frustrating have been turned into positive experiences for me since I have instituted these simple question/answers.
Scenario #3. When a punishment, or as I now call them, a CONSEQUENCE of an action, is needed.
“Jan, you need to clean your room before we go camping, please.”
Jan goes about her day, either playing with friends or whatever and fails to clean her room and its now time to leave. What do you do?
A. Get furious, stomp her to the room with you and you yell orders at her while she scrambles in tears to clean her room and then you go camping in a huff with a fight behind you.
B. You tell her that she simply has ruined the trip and now she can’t go camping. Well, that ruins the trip for YOU and shows her that she has a great deal of control in your life.
C. You don’t say anything and simply give her a consequence for her action later when she isn’t expecting it, but letting her know that you remembered but are always cool and in control.
Yes, C is the answer! The consequence that this girl received was on the trip. Her mother simply announced at the end of the first meal that Jan would be doing the clearing of the dishes and washing of any non disposable dishes for the remainder of the trip! And Jan, upon finding herself in this predicament suddenly remembers the room request and you know what- she seems to remember a lot of her parents’ requests for awhile! I have personally done this MANY times and it is WONDERFUL. Staying cool and giving yourself time to think of a consequence that keeps YOU in control is a great tool in discipline.
Try them out and comment here to share how it works for you, or you can share scenarios that are constantly frustrating for you and get some advice from MANY mothers that read this blog!