DID YOU KNOW……………………….
that being a parent was going to be one of the toughest jobs you ever encountered? Were you really prepared for the insecurities of being a good parent, the confusion of discipline, the anxiety as you compare your children with others? It doesn’t take long before parents realize they may not be as skillfully prepared as they thought for this undertaking; parenting!! How do I get my child to do what I want without power struggles and tears; a question parents often ask.
Routines, natural consequences, and giving choices are all wonderful ways for your children to internalize appropriate behaviors without parents having to constantly be the bad guy. But in order for any of these strategies to work parents must remain consistent and emotionally removed from the outcome. Inconsistency opens the door to nagging, arguments and oppositional behaviors and parents are often left questioning themselves, feel guilty and ultimately giving in far too often.
Routines are helpful because they create their own guidelines and eliminate power struggles. If children are clear about sleeping, eating, bathing and other routines they can gain a sense of independence over their activities consequently they rebel less, and are more compliant. It just becomes part of their natural routine and expectation. If bath time consistently comes before TV viewing there is no need to nag or argue.
Natural consequences also play a vital role in guiding children. A toy left outside may be chewed by the dog, lost in the yard or ruined by the weather. Pieces to games not properly put away may get lost and the game can’t be played anymore; if they take too long to get ready they will miss the next activity. Natural consequences and choices often go hand in hand. Children feel empowered when they are able to make choices and in the long run it helps them become better decision makers. Choices allow children to think through things and look forward to a solution or outcome which helps promote higher level thinking skills.
Routines, consistency, giving choices, and natural consequences provide children with predictability which leads to stability. When we know what to expect we feel safe and secure. Parents who make the mistake of trying to rescue their children from these consequences may actually rob their children from the valuable life lessons they actually hope they will attain.
Click here to read our blog post on Learning & Playing.