Lately, I feel that the majority of my day is spent arguing with my four-year-old. He’s rarely listening the first time I ask him to do something, and as the day goes on, my patience thins and my voice raises. After he’s in bed, I then vent to my husband about how I feel guilty for constantly yelling, and that something needs to change. Enter Amy McCready from Positive Parenting Solutions. Below, she lets us in on how to stop the madness. Even better, she’s hosting a FREE webinar on July 14 where she’ll go over more tools to get your kids to listen–the first time. See bottom of post for more info.
What are these kids trying to tell us?
One afternoon, as your kids are happily playing and you find yourself with a few spare minutes, you decide to call a friend on the phone for a little catch-up. As she’s filling you in on her trip to the Grand Canyon, your daughter walks up and catches your eye.
“Mom, I need you.” she says in an exaggerated whisper that you know she knows your friend can hear.
You signal one minute by holding up a finger. She wanders to the perimeter of the room and glares at you.
Ten seconds later, she’s back: “Mom, I really need you now!”
You stop your conversation and respond, “Can’t you see I’m on the phone? I’ll help you when I get off.”
She’s back in no time and interrupts you again. This time you explode, “ What is it?”
“Um…um…my Band-Aid is loose,” she replies.
Completely exasperated, you say to your friend, “Let me deal with this crisis and I’ll call you back later.”
Another time, you’re in the supermarket, picking up a few things so you can make dinner when you get home. Your son pulls at your sweater and asks for a candy bar.
Your heart sinks: you know what you’re in for. Nevertheless, you tell him “no,” hoping the outcome will be different this time.
It’s not. He begins to whine that he’s “starving to death,” and you offer him a single-serve bag of raisins instead. This only infuriates him (if he wanted raisins, he would’ve asked for raisins!), and pretty soon he’s on the floor having a full-fledged tantrum.
You watch other customers walk by; a few are clearly sympathetic, but the rest you know are silently calling your child a spoiled brat, and judging your parenting (or lack thereof). Now, all you want to do is get out of there—you decide ordering pizza tonight sounds like a really good idea, and you make your getaway.
What happened? Your daughter is completely capable of putting a new Band-Aid on herself—and she knows it. Your son will not starve to death without that candy bar—and he knows it.
On the surface, the Band-Aid and the candy bar may seem to be the focus of these scenarios. In truth, there’s a much deeper issue present. Through situations like these, kids are unknowingly trying to tell us what they really need, and parents are unknowingly misinterpreting their signals, playing directly into the misbehavior.
So, what’s the deeper issue? What is your child really asking for when he demands a candy bar?
A child who deliberately ignores your requests to go to bed, brush his teeth, stop talking back, turn off the TV, or anything else that’s not particularly fun, is telling you that he doesn’t like to be bossed around. Kids know that they have to go to bed, brush their teeth or stop watching TV at some point, so why do they act like this? Because they know that negative behavior will get your attention (even though it’s negative) and fill their need for power (even though it’s negative).
Give Kids What They Really Want
We can avoid negative attention-seeking and power-seeking behaviors if we give kids what they really want – positive attention and positive power. The best strategy to meet your child’s hard-wired need for positive attention and positive power is spending one-on-one time daily filling her attention basket in positive ways. The prescription is 10 minutes – two times per day, when you spend one-on-one time in which you are 100% focused on that child.
As you let your calls go to voicemail and ignore your chirping Blackberry, you may find yourself vrooming trucks around the room with your preschooler, playing a round of UNO with your third-grader, or helping your preteen find new songs on iTunes. No matter how your child wants to spend the time, get into his or her world and watch the magic happen. For those 10 minutes of special one-on-one time, your child has you all to herself and doesn’t have to compete with anyone for your time and attention.
Within 2 or 3 days of implementing one-on-one time, you’ll notice attention-seeking and power-seeking behaviors fall of the radar screen. It’s the first step in correcting misbehavior permanently by addressing the root cause.
One-on-one time is just one of the 25+ tools in the Positive Parenting Solutions Tool Box. Join Breezy Mama and Positive Parenting Solutions to learn even more strategies to help you correct misbehavior permanently.
You are invited to a complimentary live training webinar on Wednesday, July 14 from 8-9 PM PDT. Cozy up to your computer and join us for: Get Kids to Listen without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling.
Frustrated parents of children ages 2-16 will learn…
• Why kids really misbehave
• Why parents resort to nagging, reminding and yelling
• The important difference between punishment and consequences
• The 5 R’s of fair and effective consequences
• The answers to your questions – we’ll make them part of the webinar!
Webinar seating is limited to 100 participants. RSVP today to reserve your spot–click here!
Please share this webinar with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
Amy McCready is the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and mom to two boys, ages 12 and 14. Positive Parenting Solutions provides a comprehensive online parenting course and unparalleled problem solving support for parents of toddlers to teens.
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