Thursday, August 25, 2011

9 things you shouldn't say to your child (Part 3)

'Wait till daddy gets home!'
This familiar parenting cliché is not only another kind of threat, it's also diluted discipline. To be effective, you need to take care of a situation immediately yourself.
Discipline that's postponed doesn't connect the consequences with your child's actions. By the time the other parent gets home, it's likely that your child will actually have forgotten what she did wrong. Alternately, the agony of anticipating a punishment may be worse than what the original crime deserved.
Passing the buck to someone else also undermines your authority. "Why should I listen to Mom if she's not going to do anything anyway?" your child may reason. Not least, you're putting your partner in an undeserved bad-cop role.
'Hurry up!'
Who in this world of back-to-back appointments, overbooked schedules, sleep deficits, and traffic snarls hasn't uttered these immortal words?
Certainly every parent whose toddler can't find his shoes or blankie or who's blissfully oblivious of anything but putting on his socks "all by self!" has. Consider, though, your tone of voice when you implore a child to hurry, and how often you say it.
If you're starting to whine, screech, or sigh every day, with your hands on your hips and your toes tapping, beware. There's a tendency when we're rushed to make our kids feel guilty for making us rush. The guilt may make them feel bad, but it doesn't motivate them to move faster.
"It got so hectic at my house in the mornings, I hated that the last image my kids had of me was being angry," says family therapist Paul Coleman, author of "How to Say It to Your Kids." "So I made a pact with myself. No matter what, I wouldn't yell or roll my eyes even if someone spilled their Cheerios or asked me to find something just as we were heading out."
Rather than hectoring ("I told you to turn off that TV five minutes ago!"), he looks for calm ways to speed things along (he turns off the set himself).
'Great job!" or "Good girl!'
What could possibly be wrong with praise? Positive reinforcement, after all, is one of the most effective tools a parent has. The trouble comes in when the praise is vague and indiscriminate.
Tossing out "Great job!" for every little thing your child does -- from finishing his milk to drawing a picture -- becomes meaningless. Kids tune it out. They can also tell the difference between praise for doing something rote or simple and praise for a real effort.


Nikki said...

WOW!!! Reading these 3 posts made me feel a teeny tiny bit GUILTY!!! HA! Thanks for the reminder that I needed. Great advice!!

Jessica @ said...

These make so much sense! We don't have kids yet, but I really hope I can keep these things in mind when we are! Thanks!

Ali Mc said...

I found you through the rerun girls. I have an 19 month old and I would NEVER say any of these things...including the ones in the other posts. Exception being the hurry up - b/c who knows maybe I WILL do that later when he's older.

I am obsessed /w super nanny! and the baby whisperer :) so we haven't had many problems. You are totally right about disciplining RIGHT AWAY!

even though my son is young he gets a "pep-talk" before every outing and knows if he doesn't listen to mommy he's leaving the park or going back in the stroller :) and you know what.....he only cries for less than a minute about it b/c he KNOWS I'll follow through :)

I think it's all about balancing fair discipline with meaningful praise :D You are you have any children???

PS: I'd also like to add that I saw a mom with 3 kids going crazy at the park and OF COURSE they didn't change their behaviour or listen b/c she didn't follow through. I think I heard her threaten to leave the park over 20 times!!!! - no exaggeration!

Tiffany said...

i used to have all kinds of advice and "how i'm going to raise my kids" and "things i'm never going to say to them" before i had a very difficult child with reactive attachment disorder, and 3 others, all 2 years apart. there are some good tips in here but i think it's important to remember that "one size doesn't fit all" when it comes to parenting. i like super nanny and "love and logic" stuff, but not even that stuff works with my RAD child. (even the guy who wrote love and logic has said that it doesn't work with children with rad kids). i also judged all kinds of moms at the park with their crazy kids until i had challenging kids myself. i was totally hit by karma eventually. so i really try not to judge other moms and their kids behavior.

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