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Question of the Day: Getting Your Child to Focus on the Moment

file0001576916661Do you ever have one of those episodes with your children where you wonder, “When is he going to stop doing this?” Your child does something weird, aggravating, or just won’t grow out of a phase? Wish you had someone there to give you the help and advice you’re seeking? Enter Breezy Mama’s  Question of the Day piece. A simple (ha!) parenting question with answers from Dr. Fran Walfish, who is an Expert in Parents Magazine’s “Ask Our Experts” column.  So send us your questions (alex@breezymama.com) and Dr. Walfish will answer it in a future Breezy post. Now on to today’s question. . .

Recently, each time we leave an event (playdate, party, casual get together) my child, who is in elementary school, starts to ask “What are we doing next?”. They are so caught up in what’s happening next, that they don’t focus on that moment, which includes saying thank you, good-bye and being respectful to the people we were just with. So as we get into the car, an argument occurs, about explaining why one needs to be respectful, and it ruins the entire evening. What can I do?

Preparing your child before the play date, party, or casual get together event begins.  Say with genuine empathy, “It’s hard to stop when you’re having fun.  Everyone wants more fun!”.  Add that when it’s time to leave it is polite to say thank you and offer a respectful goodbye.  Add that if he forgets, you will remind him in front of the host.  If he refuses to comply with good manners you will decline the next play date invitation until he demonstrates readiness for good play date manners.  It is crucial that you implement this in a supportive manner.  If you deliver your message with anger or engage in a power-struggle, battle, or war with your child you will have defeated your goal.  He will not get your message about manners.  Instead, he will become embroiled in anger toward you.
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Frances Walfish, Psy.D. is the foremost Beverly Hills child and family psychotherapist. Her caring approach, exuberant style, humor, and astute insights have earned her a sterling reputation among colleagues and national media alike. A frequent guest on top-­tier TV programs, including NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and KABC-­TV in Los Angeles, The Doctors, CBS and often appearing in major publications such as Parents Magazine, Family Circle and Woman’s Day, Dr. Fran continues to lead the field with her expert insights and innovative strategies for parents, children and couples.

Her current book, The Self-­Aware Parent: Resolving Conflict and Building a Better Bond with Your Child from Palgrave Macmillan’s/St. Martin’s Press, December 7, 2010, is receiving acclaimed reviews. William Morris Endeavor and Lake Paradise Entertainment are presently collaborating with Dr. Fran to produce a television series offering therapeutic guidance and help to families in America. More information on Dr. Fran can be found online at DrFranWalfish.com.

To order Dr. Walfish’s book ($11.56 on Amazon), click here.

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Comments

  1. jeanette stroh says:

    I THINK THE QUERY HERE WAS NOT SO MUCH ABOUT THE OMISSION OF GOOD MANNERS UPON LEAVING AN EVENT, BUT THE “WHAT ARE WE DOING NEXT?” QUESTION ASKED RIGHT AS THE CHILD HAS JUST COMPLETED AN ENJOYABLE AND BUSY TIME. MAYBE AN ANSWER THAT WOULD MAKE HIM/HER REFLECT ON THE GOOD TIME JUST HAD COULD BE. “WE ARE GOING TO THINK ABOUT AND GIVE YOU TIME TO TELL ME ABOUT THE NICE AFTERNOON YOU JUST HAD.” THEN THE CONVERSATION ON THE WAY HOME COULD BE IN THAT VEIN; SORT OF A “COOLING DOWN” PERIOD?

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