Trends come and go, and if you’re not “doing” it right, it could all backfire on you, and fast. A while back, an article (not mine) was published in #TheHuffingtonPost about a new parenting trend…geared for grown-ups.
Yes, parent, you. It’s called the CTFD method, aka, Calm The F*ck Down. I love this acronym. It’s parenting at it’s best, because it’s you at your best. Kids certainly know how to push our buttons, don’t they. Your success as a democratic, impartial, lead-by-example parent is going to solely depend on how you role-model, and how you conduct yourself in front of your kids. Yes, we’re human, but we have control and choice over if we react, how we respond, and what we say and ow we say it.
I have 3 of my own, 2 of them teens, and wow, some days…But have you noticed you get all worked up for nothing over your kids’ behaviour? Yes, you do. You over-react at their behaviour. Why do we do that? Well, we’re wired to be on defence and to be reactionary because our egos rule us.
The ego is the devil in disguise because it not only drives certain positive behaviours, it protects us from the effect of others’ behaviours, and of getting hurt.
Want a more peaceful home, more compliant children, and a happier you? Want less frustration, stress and anxiety in your life? I can tell you too, your children are just as frustrated, unhappy, and angry because they don’t know why you may be raising your voice, yelling, or punishing. You may be doing it all wrong, and you may need to tweak your approach.
Here are some tips just in time for the long weekend. (You can also go to my wall and read the article from the Toronto Star that I was featured in.
Here we go….
1. Your children are wired not to listen. Their brains aren’t developed enough to understand reason.
2. Empower your children. This is your primary job. Kids don’t always understand the reasoning behind the “why”, but they do understand doing it themselves. Empower them.
3. You’re using the wrong language. If you’re telling your kids what to do, you’re bullying them. Now we’re back to #2.
4. Monkey-see, Monkey-do. They’re eyes are bigger than their ears. Lead by example. If you raise the bar, you’re giving them
permission to do so as well, and, on a silver platter no less.
5. Put your teacher hat on. It’s the same hat as the stranger hat. Be kind. Be nice. Be firm. Be kind. Treat others as you would have them treat you. We forget this. This includes your children. Remember #4. Lead by example.
6. Be responsible and take ownership of your own behaviour. This takes us back to #1. If you start feeling the hot, the anger, the stress, take a time out. Tell your kids Mommy (Daddy) is taking a time out. Time outs aren’t punishments. In fact, I refrain from ever using that word- there’s no lesson in a punishment. It just hurts everyone. Language is everything, right! If you must, offer a consequence. Remember #5. There are lessons there. Learning opportunities. Remember #2.
Excuse yourself for a few minutes to collect your wits. Your children will see this. Go back to #4!
7. Never do angry. Being angry is ok. In fact, it’s a great emotion, but it’s all about learning how to express yourself. Mom, Dad, and child. And you can all learn together, by keeping it together, and knowing when to gently excuse yourself and come back when you’re calmer. Your goals will be met faster too.
8. Breathe. Your kids look up to you. Your kids love you. Love them back, especially when you can’t. You’ll thank yourself later. And, I have another trick for you that works every time…smile. It brings you down every time, so you can think, and respond, instead of swirling, and being reactive.
Kids will push our buttons. It’s a complaint I hear all the time from my clients, but it doesn’t have to throw a wrench into everything. If you change your perspective about how you’re interpreting things, any thing, you will see there’s always a positive, a lesson, and good thing.When they throw things, they’re learning that they have influence on the world. Let them. When they have tantrums, it’s their way of expressing upset or anger, because they don;t have the brain connections to do it any other way. Let them. When they don’t listen, they’re showing us that they’re learning they can have their own thoughts, wants, and choices. Let them, with compromise. And finally, ‘NO’ is not an answer. It satisfies no one. Your kids deserve explanation. Give it to them. This too, is empowering, an it teaches them understanding, choice and independence.
Above all, lead by example, remember ‘monkey-see, monkey-do’, it’s not about you, and the way your child behaves, for the most part, is normal, and is not a reflection of you, although it can be very overwhelming and stressful for any parent. If you’re experiencing ongoing issues with your kids,, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or becoming reactive and over-stressed, or need help implementing some of these suggestions, I’m here to help you. All you have to do is ask!