Here’s a short guide to help you stop fighting with your toddler and start embracing positive relationships with your children.
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably told your kiddos once, twice, or maybe a hundred times that you’re indeed the boss. Me too, or at least in so many other words. While this is true, we are definitely in charge as parents, I’ve come to view my delivery of that message as being too intimidating. I’m working on it, I’ve never parented before, but I think I’m figuring some things out early. I hope my children won’t have to seek counsel later in life because of something I’ve done anyway.
Here’s to the Tough to Parent Child
If you haven’t figured out by previous posts like this one, we have a stubborn little boy. He’s sweet as pie, but society would refer to him as strong-willed. He pushes the boundaries we have set, and if his Dad and I are weak in any areas he will be sure to find them… and push on them. I hate to admit this, but I admire it all. Honestly, he’s pushed me to be a much better parent. He’s also pushed me passed the point of no return, but I’m focusing on the good here.
Because I Said So
Long before I ever had children, I refused to say the words, “Because I said so”. I never thought that was a proper answer to any question, especially towards kids. When our children are questioning the world, the rules, their limits, and much more, I want to give them the answers they seek. Yes, these kids ask me loads of questions. Most often, I’ve already answered these questions… maybe even seconds before they asked it. My new phrase, when I’m tired of answering these curious kids, “Honey, I’m done answering questions right now. Momma’s tired.” When the questions persist, and they will, I simply say it one more time, and then I ignore it after that. Using the phrase because I said so, is telling your child that you’re all knowing and cannot make a mistake.
Parents, we don’t know EVERYTHING
Why shouldn’t I let my child believe I know everything? My opinion: because it isn’t the truth. I remember when I realized my parents were human. I was way too old for one, and for another, I felt ridiculous for putting them up on a pedestal. (This is not to say my parents raised me wrong. I very well could have put them on that pedestal on my own. I don’t even recall either of them saying “Because I said, so”) The point I want to make here is children need to see their parents as they really are, with the whole truth. I make mistakes. I’m uneducated in some subjects. I have bad days and I make bad choices, but I’m still in charge.
Be Willing to Bend Mom and Dad
Since I’m trying to convey a message of “I’m not infallible.” I have to be willing to bend, occasionally. Before I go on, there’s something you must know about my parenting advice: I don’t back down. Bending isn’t letting a child get their way because they’re tantruming. Bending doesn’t allow my child to get away with anything. They can’t do anything other than what they’ve been told. So be sure to tell them what you want while keeping their ideas in mind. What really matters in that specific instance? When I give a direction, that direction will always be followed through. Bending is choosing to let things go, things which have very little matter.
Am I Holding On Too Tight?
Am I constantly saying “No”? If I am always holding their hand tight so they can’t venture too far, then I’m really trying to control them. If I control a child too much, will they make good decisions for themselves as they get older and I’m not there to tell them what to do? I don’t know for sure, but I think not. If I shelter my children from ever making a mistake, or the wrong decision, then when they are finally “free” from my reigns, will they be safe in this crazy world?
Here’s How You Can Begin to Change Your Relationship With Your Child
I am definitely the boss of my children, but being the boss doesn’t mean I get to throw my weight around and intimidate or control my little ones for the mere fact they’re littler than I. Below I’m going to give you a few tips on how to controlling your child and allow them to have a little bit of organized freedom. It won’t be easy, but keep at it, and you’ll begin to notice a change.
1. Allow Your Child to Choose Between Two Things.
An example of this would be choosing between eating two bites of chicken or three bites of chicken. Another example being between which pair of shoes to wear. You choose the choices that are acceptable so he really can’t make a bad decision, but your child will feel better about making the choice rather than being told what to do.
2. It is Okay to Compromise.
We’re ready to leave for the grocery store and my kiddo wants to bring his much loved blanket. Reality, I don’t want to cart it around the store because it is one more thing to keep track of while shopping, and heaven forbid we lose it! He’ll lose his mind if that happens. My reaction is to immediately say “No!” but I don’t because there’s no harm in bringing it in the car. I respond, “Sure, you can bring it along, but when we get to the store we’ll have to keep it in the car so it stays safe.”
3. Consider Your Child’s Suggestion.
My daughter asks to do an arts and crafts activity, or bake something everyday. Basically she wants to make a mess every hour I’m with her. I never want to do it because it makes a mess, and the little kids want to be involved too but that makes it harder, and my list of “why not” goes on and on, really. Then I think, is this something good for her, will she enjoy herself and possibly make a memory, do we have plans that will get in the way??? It may make things a little harder on me, but if it is harmless and she’ll enjoy it, I’m okay considering it occasionally.
4. Listen Carefully
I’ve found just making eye contact and listening to what exactly the child wants creates for a better choice to be made. If your child is thirsty, hungry, or tired then they could be whining and not know exactly what it is they want or need. Our number three is excluded from playing, mainly because she wrecks things for the big kids. She taunts them with whatever she stole. When the big kids don’t want her to play with her anymore, then she starts coming around and getting in the way of one of my major chores I’m accomplishing. Listening allows me to realize she’s a little lonely, or sad.
I can offer a hug, or sweet words, and even find her something to play with on her own (or make the big kids include her), instead of forcing her out of my way and getting on to her for not doing what she’s been told.
What else would you add? Leave a comment below.