I adore my kids. And I am incredibly proud of them. But they can really, really, like really get under my skin. And lately, as we cross over to new year, I find myself struggling more than ever to keep my cool…and my authority.
On one end I have Layla, who has discovered the infinite pleasures of saying “Nooooooo” to everything and everyone. Whose favourite act is to get into hazardous predicaments like jumping and deliberately landing head first on a sofa. Who protests when we stop her from said hazardous predicament by collapsing on the floor and thrashing her legs.
And on the other end, I have Julian, whose preschool teachers are observing more rebellious behaviour from him in class. Whose obsession with cars means we cannot stroll past anything with wheels without him insisting that I buy it for him. And whose angry retorts these days can get pretty graphic. Recently, for example, he’s been favouring his buy-a-car retort: “I will buy a car, then I will drive it, and bang you down!”
Besides raising my blood pressure, they’re definitely raising a lot of questions about myself as a parent. Am I too leniant? Was I too harsh? Am I being manipulated? Why don’t they listen? Am I raising brats? How did my children become such monsters? These are questions that run through my mind almost daily.
It doesn’t help that I get thrown sideline comments about how my kids “need to be disciplined” by their grandparents, whilst in the thick of a meltdown. And by discipline, I know they mean a good spanking.
Setting out Positive goals
These days, my consequence-of-choice for bad behaviour is to remove privileges. Time outs never worked for my kids. Neither did yelling. Nor threatening to throw them into the rubbish bin (I can’t take credit for that gem – it’s on their grandparents).
But instead of just reacting to bad behaviour with consequences, what I really want to learn and commit to, is laying the foundations for good behaviour in a more positive way. And that’s the premise of proactive parenting, an approach supported by Amy McCready, of Positive Parenting Solutions fame. The theory is similar to Montessori principles. Instead of focusing on reactionary methods (like natural consequences and punishments), we should intentionally fill the child’s “power” and “attention baskets” throughout the day, with choices and opportunities that make her feel in control and valued.
I stumbled on Amy’s webinar here and am determined to apply a couple of her tips in the next few weeks. One of which is making sure each child gets at least 10-15 minutes of one-on-one time with the parent every day. Not so easy when you’re a working parent with two young children clamouring for your attention every 10 seconds.
Nonetheless, I’m all for more positive vibes in the house. So here goes…wish us luck, and stay tuned for updates!