Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Parenting Overview

I can sum up Rosemond parenting principles is just a couple of sentences!

Under this parenting style, a child chooses to follow the legitimate authority and leadership of his parents.  His parents convey their loving leadership with clear, authoritative direction that does not give explanations and pays only a little attention to the child’s feelings, wishes, and wants. The parent conveys his expectation with a few clear, concise words and does not enter into arguments or discussions about his directions.

There you have it!  It sounds terribly simple and at its heart, it is.  What complicates the matter is typical parental unwillingness to make children the least bit unhappy.  So parents argue, and explain and negotiate and change the directions to try and make the child happy with whatever is going on.  But so often, your child does not really know what is best for him or what he really wants and the more this drama continues, the more he misbehaves.  When a parent insists on proper behavior, the child will become more secure and thereby happier and more obedient.

Most parents are perfectly comfortable with leadership, authoritative speech for a visit to the doctor.  They say things like, “You need to come home right after school today because you have a doctor’s appointment at 4:00.”

Only a very few parents would say: “Hey it is time for your physical. Would you like to go see Dr. Smith?  He is such a nice man.  Won’t that be fun?  Is it ok with you if we go?  Is today a good day or would you like me to change it for you?”

And even if the child grumbles and whines that he doesn’t want to go, most parents will not enter into much discussion about it.  They know health care is in the child’s best interests and that is just the way it is going to be.

When parents want their child’s attention, they need to claim it simply, clearly and concisely.  A direction to: pick up toys, come to the dinner table, turn off the tv, start getting ready for bed, stay by my side at the store, stop hitting your brother - should be given just as simply as the doctor announcement.
That is Rosemond parenting in a nutshell.  Now if your children aren’t used to such direction, it is going to take awhile and a few interventions to convince them that you have chosen to claim your legitimate authority.  But indeed it can be done when a parent  commits himself to leading his children.  More on how in future postings!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Time Out

No, I don’t mean for the kids!  This one is for you.  Take a deep breath and let it out slowly……….REALLY slowly………  Go ahead, I’ll wait for you.

There, didn’t that feel good?  Don’t you feel more relaxed?

One of the biggest mistakes parents make is reacting to misbehavior before they think.  If everyone took a long, slow, deep breath and backed 2 steps away from the issue at hand, they would allow themselves to think through their options.  Managing misbehavior is largely a matter of strategy.  When you shoot from the hip with an immediate response, you often act out of anger and you often yell.  And frequently, you just impose the first consequence you think of - without considering if it will really change the way your child is acting.  Oh, it might stop whatever is going on right now, but will it stop it for the long haul?

Consequences that really stop misbehavior are large enough to get your child’s attention and often “larger” than the misbehavior.  But when you get your child’s attention, he will more likely choose better behavior in the future; you won’t need to constantly impose large consequences.

Didn’t pick up his toys?  Parents, take a deep breath and don’t react at all.  But tonight after dinner, announce he is going to bed right now because he didn’t pick up his toys.

Didn’t wash the car when you asked?  Parents, take a deep breath and do it yourself.  But Friday night when he wants to go to the movies, tell him no because he didn’t wash the car.

Now if there is a perfect consequence when the incident occurs, there is nothing wrong with imposing it - if you can do so calmly and without yelling.  But many times there isn’t one at hand.  So take a deep, long slow breath and wait for the right moment.  It will come.  And I promise, your child (older than 3) is going to remember the misbehavior and learn a lesson about how he wants to behave in the future!

One word of caution – it is part of the strategy to REMEMBER to impose a consequence – too often if we get past the moment, we tell ourselves, “oh that behavior wasn’t so bad” or we forget about it until the next time.  Don’t do that – misbehavior needs your attention; it just needs to be your calm, well planned attention!