For the love of all things that sparkle, can we please stop saying unproductive things like, "good job" and "because I said so" to our children?! Think of kids like miniature adults. How many adults do you know who say, "I don't like anyone telling me what to do. I have to do things on my terms, because I want to do it"? I'm guessing a staggering number of you relate to that statement. We all do! And your children are no different!
They don't think to themseles, "Because I'm not 18 years old yet, I'm still a minor and need adults in my life to tell me how to function, otherwise I have no clue how to operate." They don't think the because it isn't true! They're born with the instincts to survive and an innate desire for independence. Therefore, when adults yell at them, they perceive threat and fight back. This is commonly known as a tantrum. And, when they're told what to do, they often do the exact opposite.
So, what can we do? Use this knowledge to make your life easier!
1. Engage, don't Enrage. Get down to your childs level and make eye contact. Smile, or touch them affectionately. This lets them know they're loved, accepted, and makes them open to receiving information.
2. Give them the control they seek.
Control is like a boomerang. The more you give away, the more you get back. When children THINK they have control, they often comply.
Here's how it works" The children are playing before school. You smile, acknowledge the lego tower they've built and pat their head before saying, "You're having so much fun. Will you choose to brush your teeth now or in five minutes?"
They're likely to respond "five minutes", to which you respond, "Ok, great. I'll set the timer and when it rings you'll know it's time to brush your teeth! Isnt it exciting to wait for a bell?"
Now, you've used empthy, positive touch, and given choices to put the responsibility back on the child. You sealed the interaction with excitement and anticipation for the bell. When the timer dings, they'll likely find joy in hearing it and knowing what to do WITHOUT being told what to do. No lecture, no anger, no threats!
3. Develop those intronsic motivators (aka feelings)
Ask yourself, "why do I want my child to brush their teeth?" Well, they'll have clean teeth. Then, when they are brushing, you might choose to acknowkedge the feeling, "It feels good to have clean teeth!"
"Why do I care if my child has a clean room?" Because being organized keeps the ind free of clutter, too, right? So, acknowledge that to your child, "I notice you're happier when your room is clean and you can find what you need".
Intrinsic motivation can go on for days....
"You have more energy when you eat good food"
"You sure slept better after playing outside yesterday"
"It feels good to share with others"
"You felt joy when you smiled at a new friend"
"It felt nasty when you hit your sister"
"You were grumpy when you stayed up late"
"It feels good to work hard at a goal"
By acknowkedging our children's feelings about things, we're developing the innate desire to make the right decision because it FEELS right, rather than doing something in order to get a prize or a "good job" from someone. The definition of integrity is doing what's right when noone is around, therefore, lets strengthen that moral compass from the inside out!
Parenting expert, blogger, inventor, single mom to twins, barefoot nomad, adventure seeker, boho spirit, advocate of play