my question is… how do you keep calm in the middle of Lucy’s outbursts? I am really struggling with my 8yr old daughter…
screaming crying, kicking.. you get the picture. I am having such a
hard time keeping my patience as time goes on, mainly for the fact that
it’s rubbing off on my other children, who think they can talk like that
too (aged 6, and 4). How do you nip it in the bud
The very best advice I can give (and it’s HARD to
do) is not let emotions get in the way. My sister says her husband
once told her she just needs to be a “durable object” during tantrums
and I love that. In my mind I just try to stay as calm as I can,
internalizing the fact that it doesn’t do anyone any good for me to
freak out. The Love & Logic stuff is the VERY BEST, if you haven’t
read that book, you should. It’s all about keeping the emotions out of discipline. So I very calmly tell Lucy she is very welcome to cry and whine as much as
she wants, but she has to do it in her room because it isn’t fair to
the rest of the family if she is hurting all our ears. Then I FOLLOW
THROUGH. That is key. If she won’t go to her room, I ask if she wants
me to take her or if she wants to go by herself. I am very firm, but
not mad (most of the time…I am definitely not perfect at this by any
means). It takes a bunch of practice, but I swear, consistency and low
emotion is the key. If we as mothers feed into it and get mad, it feeds
their desire for any kind of response and I think it triggers more of
that behavior in the future. Same with teenagers. Praise the good, try to minimize attention to the bad.
Also, giving Lucy choices is key. For example, if she says she doesn’t want to take a bath, I tell her she can choose to take one in one minute or five minutes. It works like a charm (and she always chooses the five minute option:)
We have chores and punishments for not
doing them (like not hanging out with friends, or going somewhere etc),
but my children seem not to care until they want to go out, then they are
screaming, crying, the whole works. I can give my six-year-old daughter a job
to clean her room, and I am not kidding when I say she can be up
there hours, and nothing? It’s so frustrating, I have helped her on
numerous occasions, but for the most part, they think it’s ok not to do
it. I have stopped them from going places before, but I feel that I am
always grounding them, and they never get to do fun things, because they
can’t do as I ask.
It’s kind of the same with the last question. You need to be a “durable object” and not get upset when they have to miss out on stuff. You almost need to kind of
WANT something to happen where you’ll have to follow through…some
really fun thing with her friends or whatever….something she wants to
do that she can’t because she didn’t do the stuff when she should have
(maybe even create a fun event that she’ll have to miss…does that sound mean or what??). And when she doesn’t clean in time,
just very calmly tell her you’re so sorry she’ll miss out on the fun.
If she is like my kids, it will only take her one to two times to
realize you mean business and she may as well just get it done.
**post edit note: I just re-read this answer…which doesn’t really answer your question at all. Whoops, sorry! I think I was distracted with trek (see next paragraph). I love what another reader wrote in the comments here, try breaking the task into more do-able portions. Maybe have them work on one section of a job at a time so they’re not so overwhelmed. Also, we can never underestimate how important it is to teach and train, step by step, exactly what you want done. Sometimes it’s so easy for a parent to say “clean your room” which seems like a very simple task, right? But maybe they need a checklist of exactly what needs to be done: Clear off shelves. Check under your bed. Line up toys in such-and-such a way. This is how you hang up clothes, etc. Sometimes we need to back up and make sure kids are really fully trained. I LOVE the book “The Parenting Breakthrough” which I talked about a bunch over HERE. It talks about how to train kids to do jobs in a pretty great way.
Hope that helps a little more than my first answer!
More later on all this…right now as this posts I am on a pioneer trek with my teenagers…probably starving and tired, but hopefully learning and growing along with them (and the 500 other youth going!)