OK, so maybe the use of the word 'bad' is a little extreme.
I say little because in all reality there can be pretty disastrous consequences for many families who jump into the self-help parenting section and just follows the 'instructions' blindly.
Let's remember that you're dealing with people (they may be children but they're still people), you are not baking a cake.
Yes, I know - you never intended to treat your child the same way as you would baking a cake.
But, that is what you are doing.
The book says - you must do ... and so off you go and do what it says.
When you're making cakes you know that if you over beat the mixture it's going to be more of a pancake than Victoria sponge.
It's not that parenting books don't have some fabulous tips, and many are grounded in current behavioural research.
It's just that every child is different.
You can't be prescriptive when parenting.
You have to go with the flow and adapt the methods to fit in with your family, your routines, your lifestyle and your child.
Radically changing the way your family interacts overnight is just asking for trouble.
I mean, how would you like it if someone swooped into your life and started changing the way you've been doing things for years?
I bet there would be a lot of resistance?
While you may not; scream, shout, fight and/or slam doors, you probably would sulk, grumble and do everything you could to not change.
Why, then, would it be different when you're doing this very same thing?
Behaviour change is a slow process.
It takes a minimum of 8 weeks to truly change our behaviours.
Just think about it in terms of your new years resolutions (hows it going by the way...?)
In the first 4 weeks you'll be fighting your internal resistence to change.
Week 1 you're pumped and excited to be the new you.
Week 2 you may miss a day, but you've still got the good intentions so you get back to it the next day.
Week 3 you are either starting to embed the new habits or you've given up.
Week 4 if you're still going is when you can take a bit of a breather because now your body and mind is getting used to this being your new way of doing things.
But, weeks 5-7 will be tough.
This is when the real internal struggle kicks in.
You can remember what it was like before (and always only ever through rose tinted glasses).
You're not started to really see any huge improvements yet and you've put loads of effort in.
Now, if you just push and keep going once you hit the end of week 8 you will be a new person.
From Week 9 until forever more you will easily continue with your new behaviours and habits.
OK, so I'm not writing a fairy tale - you will still have the odd struggle and may even go AWOL for a few months but you will come back and pick up again where you left off.
Now, just think about this with regards to your kids.
Has the book painted a picture which goes something like this:
"by using rewards you can quickly and easily encourage your child to behave the way you need"
or how about:
"time-out enables your child time to reflect on what they have done so that they are unlikely to make the same mistakes in the future"
I'm going to call baloney on both of these statements (not because they're nonsense - which they are by the way), but because they give you the impression that 1 reward or 1 time out will catapult you into a blissful parenting future.
What the book doesnt say is:
"rewards are not necessary to change behaviours but can speed up the process if used consistently, by everyone involved with the child."
it also doesn't tell you this:
"time-out is a great opportunity for your child and you to calm down before coming back to discuss the situation. The discussion, and being made to do the very thing which caused the misbehaviour in the first place is what will reduce future behaviours for the same incident. Please note, you will encounter massive amounts of resistance and often your child's behaviour will become even more extreme than it is currently..."
So what happens - you try something new, completely unprepared for the possible consequences, or expecting mirraculous results which never materialise. Give up. Find a new parenting book and start all over again.
Chopping, changing and having an inconsistent parenting style is the number one reason children display maladaptive behaviours (maladaptive is psychology speak for - all the things your child is doing which they shouldn't e.g., fighting, screaming, biting... in order to get your attention).
Great! I've just ruined your day :)
But it's OK because I'm about to make things awesome!
I've created a free resource which is going to help you get started on understanding your child and some super simple tips which are going to enable you to get back to having a happy home.
I promise this isn't like all the other parenting books because I tell you straight up it's going to require hard work.
I have faith in you - it's time you had faith in yourself.
Catch you soon - Katie
Grab this free 12 tips to blasting bad behaviour eBook by clicking the link below:
Katie Woodland - A developmental, and holistic psychologist who specialises in educating and empowering individuals, business leaders & school teachers to remove mental health as a barrier to success.
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