My article will appear in the December, 2013 issue of Parenting on the Peninsula magazine which is in print on the San Francisco peninsula and online at www.ponthep.com. Link to part 1
As in every garden, there are weeds to be pulled. While focusing on appreciating and affirming your kids, it is just as important to focus on what words not to say. I’m calling these “poison words” because they keep the good feelings and self-worth from growing.
When parents get angry, they can say poison words that get implanted in their children’s hearts. You apologize yet the hurt feelings still linger to be brought up another day. You’ll know the weeds have grown when your children say, “You don’t like me,” “You think I’m stupid” or even, “You wish you didn’t have me.”
Avoid these poison and hurtful words:
You’re supposed to
You ought to
You’re just like
That’s not the way ____ would
How many times
That is irrelevant
And shaming, name-calling, threatening, blaming and assuming the worst.
Don’t worry. Your child’s heart can still be mended. Focus on big doses of appreciation and you will notice an increase of love and cooperation. Remember the old saying; you get more bees with honey than vinegar. It’s true.
The final process of fertilizing is to state limits and expectations clearly and with loving structure so children grow strong and resilient. A “Do what I say” approach feels disrespectful and can lead to rebellion and revenge.
At the beginning, limits often need to be repeated. Expect this and remain calm. Make sure you have their attention by looking in their eyes and/or gently touching your child. Do not yell from across the room. Reduce the number of words as you repeat the instructions.
- “It’s time to get ready for bed.” (Child complains) 2nd time: “It’s bedtime” (Child complains) 3rd time: “Bed, now.”
- “After you finish your homework then you can watch TV.” (Child complains) 2nd time: “Homework first, then TV.” (Child complains) 3rd time: “Homework first.” Be careful not to add threats such as if you don’t …. then …
Be a conscientious gardener and watch your joyful family blossom.
©2013 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She works with parents who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking and private parent coaching sessions. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and writes the Middle School Mom column for the Parenting on the Peninsula magazine. Contact Cynthia at bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com, [email protected],com, or 650. 341.0779 to learn more about creating the relationship you want with your children.