Saturday, August 21, 2010

Does yelling, nagging, threatening and bribing really work?

Have you ever stopped and thought about how you “react” when your children test your patience? For most of the moms that I work with there is a sense of shame at admitting that they lose their temper more times than they are comfortable with. Many of us have found ourselves saying and doing things we judged in others before we were parents.
The most common things I hear friends and clients say make them frustrated, angry and sometimes helpless and hopeless:
  • Listening to the whining… It is like nails on a chalkboard!
  • Watching my child “stall” when it is time to go to bed (or eat or pick up the toys or go home from the park!)
  • Having to tell my son a million times to do something before he actually does it, if he does it at all
  • Fighting over what’s for dinner
  • When my daughter changes her mind 10 times about what she’s going to wear to school and we are already late!
  • When my child interrupts me when I am talking on the phone to the point that I have to hang up
  • Having to ask my kid to clean her room a dozen times and it still doesn’t get done.
Can you relate to any of these situations? I know I have been there before!

When we lose our cool and yell, bribe, threaten, or “react” to our children without being prepared or without thinking about what we are going to say, the punishment we inflict t is usually not one we would have chosen if we were cool and calm. Most of the time no real, practical lesson is learned and everyone involved ends up resentful and/or frustrated!

If we allow ourselves some “grace” and understand that we are not bad parents because we get mad, that anger and frustration is a very legitimate response to our kids behavior, we can start on the road to responding instead of reacting. We then have a choice to walk away, cool down and enforce consequences that make sense and support our family values.

As I always say, “only one of you can be having a meltdown at a time”.

How do you handle those “button-pushing” moments?

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