Things do improve.
While today your child has worn you down so much that you would consider giving them away to the first person who asked - it is just one day.
You have a lifetime ahead to enjoy with your child and I am going to help get you started back on that path right now.
The first thing you need to do is accept that you are where you are and there is no blame, there is nothing you could of done differently because if you could have, you would have.
The second thing you need to do is to stop listening to everyone else telling you that you did this, that, or the other thing wrong. You can’t change the past (well unless you have a time machine and if you do then I’d love you to give me a call there’s a few things I’d like to erase).
The third thing you need to do is to work out what one thing you would like to change about the way your child is behaving.
The one thing that will make such a huge difference in your life it wouldn’t matter if everything else stayed the same. Don’t worry, you can tackle everything else, but let’s tackle the hardest thing first so you can at least find a little bit of peace!
The fourth thing you need to do is flip that negative thing you want stopped into a positive statement that you want to see happen. For example, you want your child to stop swearing - what you want to see is your child talk kindly to you.
The fifth thing you need to do is talk to your child and use this very simple phrase: “from now on everyone in this house will talk kindly to each other. If I forget I will... and if you forget what could you give up?”
You need to ‘give up’ the thing you love the most because you are asking him to do the same.
Next, you need to say: “If we both manage to get until the end of the day being kind to each other then we can have...”
Pick something you want and get him to pick something he wants - try not to make this about materialistic things because otherwise it will get hugely expensive and not be as effective.
You might choose to watch 15 minutes of TV uninterrupted, he can play with a toy he likes...
It doesn’t matter - it just matters that you do it together.
The sixth thing you need to do is act every time they forget. No warnings. Instant repercussions (and likewise if a swear word slips out of your mouth...).
Now, it is important for you to realise that it’s not the ‘punishment’ that changes the behaviour it’s the reward for all the times they get it right that motivates them to do it right again.
Time and time again psychological and behavioural research has shown, punishments are not effective at changing behaviours.
If threats and punishments worked our prisons would be empty (Woodland K, 2015).
They really don’t work, so while we need to teach children (and ourselves), that if we break the laws of the land we will face consequences, it’s time we stopped relying on them to motivate children (and adults), to change.
If you remember just one thing from the post please let it be this: punishments don’t work if they did our prisons would be empty.
OK, I’ll jump back off my soap box and delve into the seventh and final thing you need to do, which is to realise there cannot be separate rules for you and separate rules for your kids.
This doesn’t work and it just isn’t going to cut it.
Have a go at stamping out the one thing that’s driving you nuts and making you want to be as far away from your child as possible.
Don’t forget to let me know how it goes!
Happy parenting, Katie.
Oh, and if you haven’t registered for the ‘Great Big Parenting Giveaway’ yet where you can access free parenting resources from experts in the UK & USA and opportunities to win 1-2-1 coaching, training, support, essential oils and even a weekend away in a Yurt (because parents need a break too), click the link below & access everything straight away.
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It finishes midnight 22nd January until next year...
Please Note: This post first appeared on the Huffington Post Blog