Today I’m happy to welcome back guest blogger Neil Fellowes, business owning dad and founder of the Hot Chocolate Club. Neil’s other articles are Using your entrepreneurial skills to inspire your kids and Who else wants to overcome that back to school anxiety? Over to you, Neil!
You want to know what to do for the best in a given situation, but sometimes you find yourself in that situation with your kids that’s breaking new ground and you have no reference. Other times you’ve been in the situation often, but wish you could find a better way to handle it.
Quite likely though, you’re busy with running a business and you just don’t have time to think about what you can do that gets the results you need from your kids.
So in this article I’m going to give you my top 7 tactics to use. These are not necessarily tactics you will get from a self-help book. This isn’t just theory, this is what I do by default, so I’m giving you what I know works.
Before we go into the tactics, let’s define the word “tactics”. Tactics simply means to “Apply a strategy that achieves a certain objective”.
An objective might be that you want your 5 year old to stop shouting and behave calmly. Another objective is to build a relationship with your children that is open and honest. Other objectives might include having them be confident or having them take pride and give their best in their school work…
So, here are my top 7 tactics for parents with a short explanation for each including an example of how you can use it.
1. Walk away
Walking away is a great tactic when tension is high. Sometimes kids get their knickers in a twist. It might be over homework, it might be something that happened at school that they find it hard to speak about or it might just be that they’re just in a horrid mood.
Rather than get sucked in, the best things to do is say, “Sorry I can’t talk to you when you speak to me like that” and leave the room.
You’ll find it’s a lot easier for you to leave them room than to get them to go to their room. If you leave there’s no tantrum. You’ve told them you don’t like their behaviour and now they have the space to think about their behaviour and come back into balance.
What’s great is that of they have ticked you off you get time-out to think about your next move. Doing this has saved me from boiling over more than once! Try it and see how you get on.
2. Lead them
This is my favourite. I’m not a fan of dishing out discipline and the best way to avoid it is to involve the children (if its age appropriate to do so) in the discussions about what’s expected from them.
If they have input into a solution or idea, they are much more likely to comply with what’s needed because they were part of the decision process.
Here, you are leading them to choose what is right so they can exert their own personal power. This is much better than having them misbehave and you then having to exert your force to get them to comply to a set of rules they didn’t even know existed.
3. Be direct
When you have to correct your kids keep it short and simple. Try to say what you need to say in 30 seconds or less, because if you start to lecture their little eyes will glaze over and they will switch off.
To do this effectively you can’t dwell on what went wrong and just cut straight to what you expect or need to happen in the future. Here’s an example, “Next time you are in the car I expect you to try to get along with your sister, is that clear?” If you start talking about the teasing or the pinching the message of what you expect will just get lost.
4. Be aware
You have to pause and think about your children from time to time. Take a few minutes weekly to just stop and think “What do they need right now?” If you think about their behaviour you might see that their playing up is a need for more attention. If they seem to be reading more often maybe they need more books and encouragement. Do they need some inspiration for drawing?
This tactic is the one I use when I am thinking about my children’s birthday or Christmas presents. I notice an area of life where they are showing interest or promise and I select something that will help them develop even more
This is a tough one for many parents. We want to leap in and advise. We want to correct them when we feel they are wrong. However, whenever we do we may be risking alienating the kids.
The best method is to draw out of your kids all the information on whatever they tell you. Ask them why they did something? Ask them how they felt about it? Ask them if they think they would ever do it again? If you feel they are wrong, ask them if you can say what’s on your mind. If you have their permission to speak about what they said, they are more likely to listen.
6. Don’t hang around
When you notice them doing something that niggles you, deal with it early. Don’t wait and then be explosive. Deal with things early and quickly while you frustration and anger can be easily controlled.
I once saw a boy continually pushing his sister over and the mother kept saying “Stop it… Stop it… Stop it…” Until eventually she shot out of her chair and smacked him over and over. Had she got up the first time the child pushed his sister and moved him away she wouldn’t have got angry, the sister wouldn’t have got hurt and the boy would have learnt his behaviour isn’t acceptable.
7. Have a Hot Chocolate
Build a routine with your children. Put some special time aside for you and them each week to do something nurturing together. Listen, talk, share stories and life together. It doesn’t have to be for hours, it can just be 15-30 minutes, but it will bring you closer together.
Neil Fellowes mission is to help parents with their parenting techniques using everyday situations. He doesn’t create more to-does, but he does help you get results in very gentle and subtle ways through www.hotchocolateclub.com . He also has a superb guide to help you nurture self-confidence in your kids. You can get it from the above website or here at: www.nurturingritualsforchildren.com
Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net