Here are few tips on how to stop getting so angry with your kids. It doesn’t matter what age they are, if you learn to parent using “Love and Logic” you can finally put the fun back into dysfunctional. In a nutshell, your goal is to allow your kids to believe that they are sharing control and by allowing them to make choices they will learn from their mistakes and become more responsible. You will also help build their self concept by offering them empathy when they face the consequences of their choices.
The Love and Logic concepts were defined by Foster Kline and Jim Fay in their wonderful series of books on parenting called Love and Logic Magic. While they can’t offer a money back guaranteed fool proof approach to raising great kids, their ideas may raise the odds of helping your kids become more responsible.
We all tend to remember things best when we learn the hard way. The younger kids are when they learn important lessons, the more insignificant the consequences and the easier transition from toddler to teen.If you parent well during the first three to five years of your child’s life, you are likely to improve the chances that you your teenager will be more responsible. Any unresolved issues in infancy tend to come back to haunt you with adolescence
So how does it work? You consistently give your kids choices while setting limits and by offering empathy when they learn things the hard way and meet some discomfort.
Concept #1 Build Self Concept
A low self concept comes from parents who:
- Criticize and find fault
- Insist on doing everything for their kids
- Don’t allow their kids to experience the joy of independent success.
A high self concept comes from parents who:
- Offer empathy, understanding and unconditional love
- Allow their children to struggle and solve their own problems
- Encourage children to succeed through personal thinking and learning
So…putting this into practice let’s say your child is taking too long to get dressed in the morning or wearing inappropriate clothing. Instead of insisting on the child changing his clothes, ask the child how the other kids will respond to his coming to school in pajamas or what the teachers will say when he arrives late for his class? As in: How do you think it will work when you go outside in your pajamas and it is so cold?
Or for example, instead of insisting on cleaning up his/her toys, ask the child if he wants to pick up his Lego and put them away or if he wants Mommy to do it. Naturally he will want Mommy to do it but the next time he wants his Lego he will have to wait until Mommy feels like cleaning them up again and so it maybe, in fact , another day or two before he gets to play with his Lego. If and when the child starts to weep or yell then Mommy asks well… maybe you need some quiet time in your room to think about things and if you want I can give you a hug before you go and next time you want to be in control of your toys it may be better if you put them away yourself.
Instead of criticism or on insisting on doing everything for your kids, allow them to struggle and think for themselves while offering empathy.
Concept #2 Share the Control within firm limits
Whenever you engage in any activity or make plans, try to allow your child to participate in making certain choices. Whether he/she chooses to play on the swing or on the slide at the playground, if he/she wants to be pushed and how high and even if he wants to leave now or wait fifteen more minutes. When the fifteen minutes is up and the child still isn’t ready to go, simply explain, we gave you lots of choices and now it is our turn to make a choice. Thank you for letting us make this choice. They key is to give away control when you don’t really need it so you can get it back when you do.
Examples:Do you want a story before bed or no story?
Are you going to wear your coat or just carry it?
Would you like milk or juice with lunch?
Are you going to go to bed now or in five minutes?
Concept #3 Provide Empathy before delivering consequences
The other important concept to hep your kids succeed in life is to make sure they experience empathy and love with out strings. Our praise and love must never be conditional on our kids accomplishments. Praise, hugs, eye contact and time will indicate that we believe our kids are lovable and have what it takes to succeed just as they are. They are good enough the way they are and when this message is internalized, kids will want to prove their parents right.
We as humans tend to learn better and faster when there is discomfort involved. You only need to touch a hot stove once.The pain of poor choices helps children learn to avoid mistakes.
Examples of how to use empathy instead of anger
Stop spitting food or else! versus How sad … dinner is over
No! we are not going out for pizza versus This is such a shame, we could have gone out for pizza but unfortunately we cant’ because you might have a tantrum like last time we went out.
Sincere empathy will work wonders but sarcasm will not….
Concept #4 Share the thinking
Ask your child questions when they make mistakes and let them come up with possible solutions guiding them towards what might work best. It is important to allow them to think more about the solution than you do.
An example of putting this into practice..
A five year old gives his little brother a haircut which is completely uneven and needs to be addressed. His mother asks him what he is going to do about it and he replies that he doesn’t know. She asks if he would like to hear some ideas, she suggests that perhaps he could open his piggy bank to find enough money to pay a barber to fix his brothers hair. After looking in the piggy bank they find $3.00 so the mother asks him what he thinks it will cost. The boy doesn’t know so she suggests that he call a barber shop to find out. She lets him push the buttons on the phone and then allows him to ask the barber what it would cost. It would be $8.00 so he is upset because he can’t afford it. The mother then asks what he will do and when he doesn’t know she suggests another idea,…. he can help with her chores and she will pay him. He doesn’t’ like that idea so she suggests that he sells one of his favorite toys to cover the cost. He likes that idea even less so he decides to help her with the chores instead.
So this example illustrates the Love and Logic concepts and how they can allow Mom to have some fun wile parenting without getting angry and it gives her son an opportunity to learn responsibility as well as finding solutions and thinking independently. Every opportunity to own and solve a problem enhances a child’s self respect. It is best to give your child at least three ideas for solutions but let him choose,
Consequences + anger = more anger
Consequences + empathy = learning
A final thought when it comes to the challenges of coping with kids acting poorly. When they lie or they are fighting or whining, announce that they are causing you to have an “energy drain” and then ask how the child plans on putting energy back into his tired parent? When he doesn’t know make some suggestions such as doing chores or even a time out and then let them choose which they prefer. The energy drain technique will work in a variety of situation.