How to Simplify Parenting
Responsibility is built on Relationship. The only way to build a solid relationship is time. Quality Time.
We can engineer this in many different ways.
Doing nothing at home as a study break, chatting on the couch,
watching and discussing shows together, going out.
Whatever We do with Our Children We must be giving THEM the time.
No phone checks, no work, no thinking about other things. For this time to pay off long term We need to be present and focused.
There are so many distractions, so much entertainment, that it is easy to neglect those around Us for a quick fix.
Yes talking is spending a lot of time, but this is time invested, time spent with purpose.
The earlier We can encourage open and honest communication (Both ways!) the deeper the relationship is able to grow.
We need to be careful to not be too judgey, critical or harsh.
We are learning about how Our Child’s brain works and doing a little trouble shooting if something sticks out.
I’ve heard before that where our money is, so is our heart.
By giving our future adults gifts and useful presents we can open up deeper levels of relationship. These can’t just be random spoil gifts with no context (not all of the time, its great when used sparingly), but well thought out gifts that connect to things that mean something to your child.
Maybe they were talking about wanting to draw or paint more, so You bought some supplies.
Perhaps they are in to stem so You bought an engineering kit.
Whatever means something to them will work well to bolster this relationship.
If you want to make it easier later, connect somewhere you have a skill.
You made clothes in college ? Make a dress or a skirt.
Like baking ? Find a new recipe!
Play ukulele ? Teach them!
By sharing parts of ourselves we turn our hearts further towards our children,
while also sharing and seeing them grow and explore!
We want well rounded humans, so they need outlets.
Children need hobbies.
This can be as simple as sharing the things we enjoy.
Like working out, do an easy one with them.
Play an instrument? Try teaching them.
Got a ball ? Throw it together.
Even watching TV can become a bonding and sharing activity.
Look for themes and activities in the show to discuss, turning just sitting on the couch into a bonding teachable moment !
The goal here is to activate Their little minds and set Them up to make good choices with their free time 😉
When it comes to discipline most People seem to think punishment. Punishment is a penalty or consequence where discipline should be training and improve the child’s skills for the future.
A nice way to dive in to discipline is by using caution. We can discuss the expectations and chores we would like to implement with the child, and inform them of the consequences when the boundaries are broken.
Then, for a good period of time depending on the age and skill,
we will move into warning the child when They get close to breaking the new rules.
This gives them time to adjust, while forcing us to think more rationally than emotionally and show some grace along the way.
If the child is having issues once the consequences are in full effect We can talk with Them and move back in to the Caution Phase to help them readjust the behaviour.
By Parenting in this way We :
– Promote Communication
– Can allow the Child to express any objections
– Clearly explains the boundaries
– Clearly shows the Child that We are thinking about Their feelings and Thoughts
– Usually see change faster
Another powerful tool we have as parents is Currency. This can be whatever we like. Extra play time, ‘saving up’ for a toy or the latest (appropriate) fashion, extra tv time, literally ANYTHING THE CHILD VALUES. By carefully rewarding with Our chosen currency
We can begin teaching young children to be financially responsible, and hopefully to avoid immediate gratification.
Talk with your child and come up with some currency ideas. Then away from the child and with your partner (if you have one) decide which currencies will work for you. As we are working with a 14 year old we started with lollies in a jar given on movie night, and quickly added actual cash to allow more freedom with her friends.
Again, the currency can be anything (but try to keep it age appropriate)
One of the biggest problems that the internet has seemed to come with was an erosion of delayed gratification because of our instant fixations. Scrolling through feeds and watching increasingly shortened clips is hijacking our dopamine responses. For our children we can help avoid this, just by offering to save up any rewards for larger rewards in the future.
If We are rewarding with lollies perhaps one week we could offer to skip the lolly reward for a larger chocolate bar the next week. This allows the child to voluntarily practice a little delayed gratification.
The important thing to remember is that it is about allowing CHOICE for the child, not imposing our will and ideals. Even if WE think that the chocolate bar in the example is a better deal for the child,
We have to allowing Them to live with NATURAL CONSEQUENCES.
I think its safe to assume that all parents (no matter how misguided) want to protect their children. We want to keep Them safe from sharp objects, falling, strangers, over load, emotional damage etc etc etc… but when is protecting someone too far ?
This brings me back to my father’s neighbour, let’s call him Mike. Now Mike’s mother literally wrapped him up in cotton wool, didn’t want him playing on the grass without shoes, kept him away from dirt and disease, kept him inside when it was cold out. Where do You think he ended up ? Was he strong with good immunity to everything ? Of course not! He has a litany of allergies because he was never exposed to adversity.
We need to be careful not to do the same to our children. It is easy (short term) to hover, swooping in whenever we sense a little danger (read struggle) around Our Little Humans.
Just like Mike’s mom it is easy to, in reality, do everything ourselves (…read, FOR our children.)
If you had never cooked dinner how would you have learned ?
If you hadn’t ever had a job how would you know how to work ?
If You had never done a budget for yourself (and felt the pain of being short or behind) how would you know how to do it ?
Living with Us, under our roof, eating our food, and with our guidance IS the safety our children need, so we need to be careful to not selfishly steal their ability to learn and to achieve things.
And what lesson or achievement have you had that didn’t include a little mess ?!
A broken plate is easy to fix, a dropped lunch can be remade, even a snapped arm heals… but what We may not get a second shot at is teaching our children that specific lesson. Take advantage 🙂
“Play dumb games, win dumb prize.”
It is impossible to protect our children from everything, it’s not realistic.
Consequences are real, they are natural. No matter what we will all suffer them.
Warranted and unwarranted. Earned and learned. In a million ways…
Let’s make it easier later and prepare our children from the beginning (in a kind way!!!), to better them.
More important than implementing some form of currency and consequence is utilising praise, but a better way to look at this is SAVING YOUR DISAPPROVAL. Shifting our focus from catching our little humans doing the wrong thing, to searching for when they do the correct thing (and celebrating it!) reinforces the good behaviour.
No one wants to hear a list of complaints and old slights. Every child feels awkward and uncomfortable to some degree. And most importantly, we can’t afford to be negative all the time (just for ourselves, it’s killing us!)
By shifting to the positives we are drawing our children’s attention there.
Coupled with ignoring the negatives, the attention (which is usually our children’s motivation) disappears. Quickly changing behaviour.
Because we have switched to praising the good behaviour while ignoring the bad, it is only a matter of time before the good behaviour is the usual behaviour.
PRACTICE (everything changes)
Like every thing in life. This Too, Shall Pass.
The bad behaviours,
The verbal chess matches,
Eventually it is done. Our chances are gone. We did our time.
There is no much less to impart, and we can enjoy deepening the relationship with the humans we have built…
“Practice. . .
The art of incompetently doing until the new idea sticks.”
With parenting, in life, in business… Aren’t we all just taking the best worst idea and giving it our best shot?
There is no magic bullet.
Things don’t just magically change over night.
Care, Planning, Consistency. These change the future. These take effort.
We are practicing.
Taking the best worst ideas we have, trying them, and changing them if they aren’t useful in the future.
By caring, by trying, by growing and changing we are able to constantly have something to give our children.
If we really care, let’s put our time where our mouths are and really make a difference.
I’ve seen it work. Many times.
You got this!
Let’s Help Each Other Out!
Share a success or a struggle in a comment below.
Everyone needs an ear, and
everyone has ideas.
You might have the key for someone’s problem 🙂