One of the most common themes we see each and every week is parent child relationship issues. From the teen who wont get off Fornite, to the newly minted 18 year old who can now do whatever they want, to the 5 year old who is all boy, all monster and all energy, parents present with confusion and exhaustion all looking for answers on what to do.
As one exasperated father said yesterday, "My teenager does not come with a manual." Luckily, kids are amazingly resilient and in spite of the mistakes we as parents are bound to make, your kids will become a reflection of what you put into them. Little in little out or much in and much out; you get to decide but show me a good kid and I will show you good parenting. A good kid is no accident but rather the reflection of parents who aren't perfect but strive to love and grow in their relationship with their kids.
My hope in the coming weeks is to be more intentional with these blogs and provide some ideas to engage your kids and improve your relationship with your kids.
One of my favorite tools and I must admit that I stole this from my wife is the Whining Wheel. Lets face it, kids whine and complain. They talk back, they argue and they act like miniature immature versions of ourselves. Many parents go through the following process when their kids are whining. First they IGNORE it. Whoever said that we should just ignore the child who is misbehaving and sooner or later they will stop is an absolute Moron. it doesn't work but that's what we usually try first. Ignore it and hope it goes away.
Next we get IRRITATED. Once ignoring the problem has failed to get it resolved we start to get irritated. This is when the little terrorist known as our child is gaining control because his or her behavior is controlling and influencing your emotions. Think about it, your child is not in control of much in his life but quite suddenly he is in charge of what you feel and it empowers and emboldens him.
And Finally we IMPLODE. We have now reached the breaking point and we blow a gasket, rip them a new one, consequence out of anger and then feel bad about how lousy of a parent we are only to return to the ignore it stage again.
Instead of ignoring it IMPROVE IT. When your child starts to whine gently redirect and give them alternative to whining. "You know Billy, you and i have talked about whining and that if it continues I will need to consequence you. You can stop on your own or if you cant, I need to pull out the whining wheel." By now you are asking what is the Whining Wheel. Think of a behavior modification version of the Twister Wheel. You remember the classic game twister where you would spin the wheel and whatever color you landed on, you needed to put your hands or feet? We use the same principle with the whining wheel but instead of colors we have consequences. You simply construct your own out of card stock and some colored markers. No TV for 1/2 hour, loss of I Pod for 1 hour, clean the cat box, sit in time out for 20 minutes, scrub the toilet etc. The idea is not a heavy consequence but rather a minor redirection that puts the emphasis back upon choices and consequences. If the child continues to whine, pull out the wheel and have them spin. Whatever it lands on, is the consequence but dont be afraid also to have a free spot on the wheel where if the child gets lucky enough and lands on a free-bi there is no consequence.
Again the goal is redirection with the focus on their choices and in the process keeping mom and dad's emotions in check. Feel free in the comment section of Facebook to add your own creating parenting ideas.