I want it! Give it to me!
I don’t want to!
Now imagine you’re getting that response in the middle of a very busy store. You know if you say the wrong thing, your child will have an epic meltdown that will turn every head in the store with eyes piercing into you as other shoppers wonder just what kind of parents allow their children to act like that in public.
Sometimes, no matter what you do, it just seems like the kids are running the show. You know if you don’t give in, they will react badly. If you do give in, you will temporarily satisfy them, but you’re sending them the message that they are in control and they know it.
If you find yourself in that situation, you’re probably ready to take back control. As daunting as it may initially seem, taking back control is attainable if you keep a following tips in mind.
Kids need reasonable limits. Set the boundaries too tight and you’re going to restrict their ability to grow and to explore. Give them no boundaries at all and they’re going to become lost, unsure of what’s right and what’s wrong. Boundaries teach your children what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in your family and in the world at large. Create a list of house rules that you expect your children to follow and be consistent with them. Remember, however, that sometimes you might have to be flexible with the rules. If you do not allow television before bed on a school night, you might make an exception if your child is sick in bed with the flu and not going to school the next day.
Do not react in a negative way
Kids are going to have temper tantrums. They’re going to scream, yell, stomp their feet, and cry when they don’t get their way. It’s just what kids do. You can’t control their reaction but you can control your reaction. You may be tempted to yell back or become so frustrated you, too, want to scream and stomp your feet.
Do whatever it takes to avoid having a bad reaction. Take a deep breath. Count to ten. Give your dog a hug. Whatever works for you, do it. When you react badly, you show your children that it is okay to act that way when you’re upset or stressed.
Just as important, a reaction is exactly what your children are aiming to get from you. Remain calm and eventually your kids will learn that, no matter how big of a fit they throw, you’re not going to budge.
Give your children the opportunity to succeed when they’re not listening instead of just taking away a privilege or an activity. Use the warning to let your children know what behavior you want them to stop and the consequence if they continue that behavior. For example, if you don’t stop throwing the ball in the living room, you are going to lose the ball for a day. If your children do not listen, take the ball away. If they do listen, praise them for listening.
Use warnings and don’t use too many. One or two warnings are enough to give your children the chance to listen to you before you follow through with the consquences.
Stick to What You Say
Kids will always push to see how much they can get away with. How you respond will determine who’s in control. If you let your kids get away with whatever they want, they’re going to keep doing whatever they want. However, if you offer warnings and follow through with consequences, they’re going to learn to listen.
Maybe your kids have been fighting. Instead of asking them to please stop, firmly but kindly tell them to stop fighting or they’re going to lose their favorite toys for the weekend. If they continue fighting, collect the toys and give them back at the end of the weekend, no matter how much they beg, cajole, cry, or scream. Otherwise, if you give in to that behavior, they’re going to know they just have to act out loud enough and long enough to get what they want.
If you want a positive response, be positive. If you want your child to complete a chore, for example, say something like, “I really like when you help out around the house.” Praise your children when they’ve done something right and use a positive spin when they’ve done something wrong. “You’re a good kid, but you shouldn’t act like that.” Using negativity too much risks making them feel poorly about themselves and having them react opposite of what you want.
You can take control back from your kids. It just takes commitment and consistency. Jump on The Train Ride with your kids and together you can learn how your family can live happily in harmony while you remain in control and give your children the safe boundaries they crave.
The ’Mouse cage’ is another story in the Meta4kids collection that also promotes healthy exploration within set boundaries.
The stories also teach the parents how to act and talk to get the best results for their kids… what is that worth to you to have control?