I have learned that being clear with expectations and communicating effectively with our children saves a ton of hassle, frustration, and hurt feelings in the end.
I see people in the store all the time frustratingly (and with futility) dealing with screaming tantrums, constant 'can I have? will you get? questions nagging and general meltdowns from their kiddos. Do I dare say...I don't blame the kiddos?? Okay, I don't blame the kiddos!!
I used to be one of these parents in a constant state of fatigue being unable to shop or really spend time in any public place without the impending dread of slipping into a power struggle of some kind. Then I learned from a few different sources how to stop all that and it starts with clear communication.
Kids these days don't respond well to yelling, forced discipline, or because I told you so attitudes and I have realized that those attitudes don't work well to change behaviors. Let me tell you this - the parent never really wins that struggle for power but we can win when we understand that we can end the civil war when we refuse to go to Gettysburg.
Here's a good start to how to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to our kids:
- be prepared--understand the situation you are going into and any areas that might trigger unwanted behavior.
- sit down with your child before going into the situation and clearly communicate your expectations and what you are prepared to do if those expectations aren't met.You may help them recall a time when they behaved well in a similar situation.
- Let them know that you care - tell them you love it when they are having fun and that, in order to have fun, we need to show good behavior.
- relay to them that you know they can behave well and that you need their help and others need their example. You may help them recall a time when they behaved well in a similar situation.
- Act - be prepared to make good on the consequences you have set forth if expectations aren't met. Don't argue, don't negotiate, don't give second chances - just take action.
in the beginning I found myself leaving plenty of groceries etc. in the cart in the middle of the aisle and taking my kids home but little by little, once they realized that daddy won't engage in the battle going to the store (or anywhere) with my kids became a joy and I was able to leave proud and with some energy left.
-To teach wisdom becomes the greatest discipline.