Super Granny Shares The Most Common Behavioural Issues Parents Face
Parenting is not for the faint-hearted. For anything else in life we want to be good at, we go on courses or study at university. But with parenting, we assume it will just come to us naturally or instinctively. Being the most awesome, intense job we will ever have in our life, and one that affects us for the rest of our lives, it is quite scary to have to rely on instinct don’t you think?
Having presented Parenting Workshops for the past 20 years and being involved in countless families in the privacy of their own homes over the last 10 years, there are a few commonalities I have found wherever I go:
All over the world I seem to hear the same refrain, “My child is actually not really naughty, he just won’t listen” This always brings a smile to my face because what IS “naughty” then, other than not listening? I believe in not labeling a child (or a chair for that matter) as naughty. Naughty is who you are, “you are not listening” is what you have chosen to do.
Try this: Don’t tell your child that they’re naughty, tell them that they’re not listening to you. Change your language.
Good cop bad cop
When I do home visits I generally find that most parents have one good cop and one bad cop. The problem lies in the fact that they overcompensate for each other, so one becomes harsher because the other one is so soft and vice versa. Neither extreme is effective. Usually, both resort to shouting, which really doesn’t work. But nobody actually shouts the first time. Only after repeating and repeating. So I believe in only speaking once then saying, “You are not listening!” which leads us to the next point.
Try this: Agree on house rules and consequences and stick to them. Don’t confuse the children with mixed messages about what is acceptable and what isn’t. If you don’t agree with your partner then make sure to tell them away from the kids so that you always seem to be a united front!
Setting consequences and being consistent
Children love boundaries. They feel safe when rules and consequences to rules are predictable and consistent. I like to use the example of car seats. Parents generally have a non-negotiable attitude when it comes to car seats because it’s for their child’s safety. However, a child does not know the difference between the importance of a car seat and the lack of importance of a simple instruction like, “Pack away your toys”, or “come here” so I encourage parents to say what they mean and mean what they say. Make sure an instruction is an instruction and an option IS an option. Don’t say something like, “Shall we go bath?” when you actually mean, “It’s bath time”. Then when your child does not respond to your instruction, there needs to be an age-appropriate, predictable, consistent consequence.
Try this: Change your language and make sure an instruction is an instruction. For example, instead of saying ‘can you get ready for bed now’, try ‘it’s time to get ready for bed now’.
Guilt based parenting
With many parents both working, it’s very difficult to come home and have the energy not only to play with your child but to also discipline if and when necessary. Parents feel guilty for not having seen their children the whole day and tend to overcompensate by letting them get away with anything and spoiling them with things instead of spending time together. The only problem is that then nobody enjoys the time together (because children respect boundaries) then this results in parents wishing for bedtime. Then they feel guilty for wishing the time away, and the guilty cycle repeats.
Try this: Make time for your children everyday – a few minutes of your undivided attention, reading a book, playing a game, telling a story with no distractions at all.
It is extremely difficult to stick to your own culture, values, expectations when you are surrounded by so much pressure and diversity. It’s hard enough parenting in a way you feel is culturally correct without having 10 sets of different-believing eyes glaring at you when out in public. I encourage parents to stick to what they have agreed on for their own family so that the children are not confused. After all, half the people watching are going to possibly agree with you, the other half aren’t. So how will you ever keep everyone happy?? Your family’s happiness should be your priority, not what others’ think or say.
Try this: Be calm and consistent -if ‘time out’ is your consequence then apply it, even if you’re out and about!
I try to teach parents that what you have, is what you have allowed. You allowed it because you didn’t know any different. It does not make you a bad parent, it simply means you did not know what else to do.
My passion has always been to help parents enjoy their children. This usually takes me 3 hours of intense training in a home visit. It’s awesome to see children happy and parents back in charge. That is why my logo is: Changing family dynamics by empowering parents.
All images are taken from Pexels.