There is no I in PARENT…
When you are talking to your child about their behavior, try to avoid the following “I” statements…
“I don’t like it when you scream in my face.”
“I am going to take away a toy.”
“I want you to make a good choice.”
“I am going to put you in timeout.”
All of these statements put you (the parent) in the driver’s seat. You will spend your day regulating their behavior instead of encouraging them to be in control of their choices. We want them to recognize the benefits of their good behavior; the ways that good choices influence their lives for the better. So next time you find yourself in a tug of war with your child try statements that give the ownership back to them like these:
“When you scream in my face you are telling me that you are too angry to a make a good choice. Take a break and come back when you are ready to talk nicely without screaming.” (The child should find a spot to cool down and take enough time to get their anger under control. They should return on their own time but only when they are ready to talk nicely without screaming)
“When you play with your toys too roughly, you are telling me that you aren’t taking care of them and you need a break from the toy.” (The child will have to put the toy in a break because they did not play nicely with it. The point is they caused it to be taken away and they can also cause it to stay put if they turn their behavior around).
“If you make a good choice you can stay at the park. If you do not you will have to go home. I bet you can make a good choice that will turn your day around.” (The choices they make affect their day. When we act “non affected” by their choices then it is the child’s problem to turn it around so they can get the positive consequence they desire).
Once we take the “I” out of the discussion with our children, they have to take the behavior on themselves and not wait for us to reprimand and deliver consequences. It becomes their problem to fix, not ours. When we allow them to have the power to change their own behavior, we have helped them to see that they can control their responses and therefore control their day. By taking ourselves out of the equation it allows us to be less emotional about the choices they make.
Then the only “I”statements you will have to make will be positive reinforcement statements like these:
“I am proud of you.”
“I love you.”
“I knew you could do it.”
“I noticed you turned your day around.”
“I caught you making a good choice.”
“I like how you are playing nicely with your toys.”
Obviously all this is easier said then done. Here are some quick steps to better parenting…
1.Start out by paying attention to your responses to your child’s behavior.
2.Begin to put them in the drivers seat when it comes to regulating their behavior.
3.Choose positive reinforcing “I” statements that let them know you have faith that they can turn their day around on their own.
Give it a try! I know you can do this!