Parents get stuck being able to see new solutions because they continue to view the problem in the same light.
Often they state the question in this format:
“How do I get my child to:
not talk back,
do their chores,
do their homework
not have a tantrum
not be disrespectful
not hit their sibling
not ignore me
and on and on.
The frame they put the problem in is based on what do they do to the child to get them to change. After trying controlling strategies such as taking things away, time outs, and threats without results, they often give up.
One aspect of reframing is to look at the overall structure of the environment that the problem occurs in. For example, if your child is not having trouble obeying his teacher and following directions and he is only having trouble at home, then this is the first aspect to explore.
Here are examples of reframing questions to ask yourself about the home structure.
Why do I think this is happening at home and not at school? Why with us and not with the teacher?
What does the school environment provide that I don’t?
Is he keeping it all together at school and then letting it all out at home? If so, how can that be managed better so he has time to vent and then be able to follow expectations of positive behavior at home as well?
What has happened in the past when she has “misbehaved” at home ? Did my child get what she wanted so this behavior was reinforced?
Have I clearly stated rules and expectations or do they change?
Are they written down so I can refer to them?
Am I having a difficult time following with limits?
Do I give in easily because I’m afraid of the inevitable tantrum or yelling?
So the beginning re-framing questions are to examine the structure and how you enforce it. Many parents will admit that they are struggling in this area. Having a parenting coach to talk to and get encouragement that staying firm is good for their kids is very helpful to gain the necessary confidence to follow through.
The re-framing will teach you how to shift from how do I change my child to how can I set up structure differently so my child will be more likely to succeed?
There are many more questions to ask. I trust these questions give you a starting point to transforming your family.
©2014 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children of all ages. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking and private parenting 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. She works with parents of 4 – 25 year-old children. Contact Cynthia at bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com, cynthia@bridges2understanding,com, or 650. 679.8138 to learn more about creating the relationship you want with your children.