I received a fantastic email from a mom, Susan, whom I recently taught how to parent her high-spirited 8-year-old daughter more successfully. I asked her, “ May I share your experience so I can inspire other parents?”
Susan’s response was, “Of course! Anything that can help others realize the methods work, the better.”
A little background before I tell you her story. Susan came to me because her daughter was very bossy, wanted to be independent, refused to take direction, and had tantrums often if she didn’t get her way. She was only 7 so you can imagine the concern the mom had about what the future would be like if nothing changed.
I knew this would be a challenge and I also knew that if any parenting system would turn this situation around, Ally Parenting would. If a parent is willing to self-reflect and make the suggested changes, then conflicts are always reduced.
Here is Susan’s story as she told it to me in her email. My comments are in italics along with the step she used from the Family Harmony Formula.
I hope this email finds you well. I recently returned from a family trip to Hawaii. The last time we were there was before we worked together. During that trip, my daughter, Lilly, had a horrible tantrum (screaming, throwing objects, hitting us), screamed when she didn’t get her way, and resisted any parental authority.
This trip was delightfully different. There were no tantrums, no arguing, and when plans changed or we stated the plans, she agreed or asked questions to get more information. Applying your methods when she was tired, hungry, or not in control helped avoid a meltdown and instead created a closer connection.
There were many times Lilly wanted to be independent or faced a tough moment (applying sunscreen, playing on the beach, filling up her own water bottle from a large water jug, losing a floatie). Not every scenario ended the way she wanted (she got sunburned-first time).
Susan decided to use the Supporter Role as she helped her daughter make decisions and live with the outcome safely. (Select parenting role. Step 1)
Lilly learned that it’s part of the process of being independent and we discussed how she felt about making her own decision. Every time she said or did something that I would have reacted to in the past, I thought “That’s her and it has nothing to do with me.” (She choose flexible thinking instead of inflexible thinking. Step 4)
In the past, Susan was controlling and would have told her daughter what to do instead of letting her experience life. Way to go, Susan for not using communication blocks. (Step 5)
Throughout the trip, I used so many of your tools:
-Taking a deep breath and wait. (This was a strategy that Susan developed herself with great success.)
Susan worked on solving problems together with Lilly since she always wanted her own way with no regard for others. I suggested she ask Lilly about the impact of her actions on others rather than Susan telling her the impact.
-“What happens to the other person when you get what you want, no matter what?”
I later asked Susan how Lilly responded to this Collaboration Role question. This is her response.
Whenever I ask this question, she always answers “The other person is upset/sad”. She then almost always offers a different solution to which I respond “That’s one option. I’m wondering if we can think of a couple more and pick one that feels good for everyone.”
-“That’s an option. Let’s throw out all possible options and see what feels right to all of us.” Susan leaned to discuss a variety of options before coming to a decision. An important problem-solving skill I teach parents.
–After, then (worked every time) When the After-Then strategy is used at the right time, it’s always a winner. ( Do successful strategies. Step 7.)
-Many empathetic statements (I’m sorry, that’s a bummer, oh man, boo, that’s tough)
–One-word prompts to take care of a responsibility “plate” indicating put the plate in the sink
I continue to be grateful for your guidance.
Susan learned and followed the Family Harmony Formula. You too can learn these effective parenting skills and make positive changes in your family.
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