We all do it … we make idle threats in the grocery store to get the kids out of the sweets aisles and through checkout. But do you often find yourself falling into the trap of threatening without real consequence? Do you struggle to get your kids to listen to you? If you do, this article is for you.
My husband and I often feel that we are flying by the seat of our pants with our two kids – born seventeen months apart and both with the most wonderful, strong personalities you can imagine. So we ask for advice as much as we can. We have recently been through some excellent parenting workshops at our elder son’s school.
A key takeaway from our recent parenting course is the following: “Punishment is the result of an absence of discipline”. So, if punishment is the “”timeout” or “naughty chair”, then what is discipline? It’s simple: following through.
I have often made idle threats. Unintentional, well-meaning, idle threats … “Put that back or we are leaving the shop now”, “Sit nicely in the trolley or you won’t get that sweet I promised you”. You can’t really blame me … trying to complete a shop with personality filled two- and three-year-old boys is no easy feat. Sometimes you will do just about anything to get what you need to get done, done. Preferably without sequential melt-downs. But, often, we choose the easiest route in the moment and sacrifice the longer term benefits of children who respect what their parents say and know where they stand.
The other day, I tried the follow-through approach: We were on the way to the park – My elder son on his trike and my younger son on his push bike, as excited as could be for the slides and swings that lay ahead. Unfortunately, my elder started heading the wrong way – pushing the boundaries – down a dangerous hill with traffic at the bottom. I asked him to turn around. Nothing. I then told him that if he didn’t turn around we were going home – it was too dangerous. Unfortunately, he didn’t listen. I had to physically turn him around and push him back down the road we had come up, while carrying my younger and his black push bike back home kicking and screaming (my son, not the bike!) in my arms. Our neighbours and their visitors gawked at the scene we made. I kept cool. Unmoved by the cacophony of sound that my boys can produce. My elder son pleaded and begged, promising me he would listen. But it was too late. I had made a commitment and I was following through, come what may.
Well, once the hullabaloo had calmed down, do you know that I had the most relaxed and compliant afternoon from those boys? They had a lovely play together, came and sat down for dinner and ate it all up. Now, they are each tucked up in their beds and I have a moment to write this before I make dinner. What a difference! I’m committing to keep following through …
Now, we would love to hear from you … do you manage to follow through with your kids? Do you have an awesome new way you’ve discovered to get your kids to listen to you? The truth is that we’re all in this together and your comments could help thousands of mums around the world to discover new ways to get their kids to listen to them and, more importantly, realize that they are not alone in the challenges they face …
Article written by Janice Windt