“If I have to tell you one more time, I’m going to… “ (threat, fear)
“If you had studied the way I told you, you wouldn’t have gotten the grade you got.” (blame, fear)
“I will wash your mouth out if you ever speak to me like that again.” (threat, fear)
“Why do you make me repeat myself until I finally have to yell to get you to listen?” (blame and fear)
These comments don’t sound so unreasonable to most of us.
There are many solid arguments defending these parenting tactics.
This dominant parenting style involving fear is the way many of us were raised by parents, teachers and coaches.
It’s what we know.
And hey, we turned out O.K., right?
But what if we want even more for our kids.
For this human race.
Isn’t it about continuing to evolve?
The Parenting Evolution.
It doesn’t mean that we didn’t turn out just fine.
And it doesn’t mean that our parents were bad parents.
They loved us as much as we love our kiddos.
They simply had less info. than we’ve got.
There have been major advances in psychology, sociology and neuroscience.
It’s a different time.
And it takes some effort to undo the old programming to make room for a more evolved way to discipline our kids.
You might believe that your kids push your buttons and you simply react based on their behavior.
The thing is – when our buttons are pushed, we have a choice.
We can choose to believe our kids control our emotions and angry responses.
We can choose healthier thoughts and be in charge of our own emotions as adults.
For example, when our kids repeatedly argue or ignore us, rather than making it mean they don’t have respect for us; are bratty and entitled and think they run the show; or whatever old tape we have playing in the emotional part of our brains…
We can choose to believe that it is isn’t about us.
It almost never is.
We can choose to see it from our kid’s perspective and understand that he may be enjoying the present moment and resists shifting gears.
This doesn’t equate to throwing in the towel and being ignored by your kids.
When we realize their present and engaged attention is not a personal affront, we can keep cool, think clearly and find an effective way to gain cooperation without aggressively reacting.
Maybe your argumentative girlie had a super crappy day involving hurt feelings by a friend, teacher or coach.
The arguing and bad attitude is her outlet to lower her stress hormones and you are her punching bag unfortunately… or fortunately, depending on how you look at the fact that you represent unconditional love for her.
She knows you will still love her and be her parent even after she acts like a total A-hole towards you.
Understanding your kid’s perspective and choosing not to make their behavior about you doesn’t condone their rude or disrespectful behavior.
There will be consequences later.
Once everyone has taken a breath and the moment has passed.
Unlike yelling, threatening or both, the consequence will actually teach your child how to manage their upset more productively in the future.
This recipe always results in more connection between the two of you.
Doesn’t it make more sense to model and teach how to become calm and in control when something upsetting happens rather than matching their upset with your own?
Wouldn’t we all have loved to have received that memo when we were kids?
Talk about a skill we would use way beyond our school days!
It can be argued that a healthy dose of fear often propels humans to do what you want them to do in the immediate moment.
This is true.
Fear puts us into our fight/flight/freeze survival mindset and we do what we need to escape the immediate danger.
I don’t know about you but I’m looking for long term results when it comes to raising my kids and my relationship with them.
Immediate compliance due to fear and dominance tactics usually ends in rebellion later followed by long term resentment and ultimately, disconnection.