2 weeks ago we spoke about how to change the way we ‘blame’’ ‘gaslight’ and ‘guilt’ our kids.
Here are some more tips to change how and what we say!
1) Threats. “If you don’t stop crying right now I will give you something to cry about.”
Remember this one ??? Many of us heard this phrase far too often in our own childhoods. Keep in mind that crying is a behaviour and is the result of a feeling – and feelings can’t be turned off like a tap! Often demanding that your child 'shut off their feelings' will create panic in that child. Rather ask ‘why is their crying making me feel so anxious?’ Are your feelings actually the problem here?
Instead try: “I can see that you are feeling really upset – I am here with you…” and then try and find out what is causing the feelings.
2) Shame. “Ugh. What now?!”
Demands…demands…demands! Many of us feel overwhelmed with demands on us all day. So when your toddler starts on ‘more demands’ – it’s very hard to not get frustrated and say …’what now ?!?” Most of the time this is a statement from a young child who is learning and exploring their world. They ‘call’ you continually as you are their anchor. Without your acknowledgement of their existence, they don’t feel like they exist! Try and pre-empt their calling you by ‘naming’ it and ‘anticipating it’ so the need to call out for you reduces.
Instead try: “You have a lot to say today – it’s amazing how much you are learning!’ or ‘I can see you on the swing – you are going really high’.
3) Autocratic. “Don’t tell me no!”
A lot of parents get really worked up when their toddler yells ‘no’ to them. Although we need to teach ‘how’ to say no properly and when – it is actually a word that all toddlers must learn and use because it teaches them personal autonomy and how to establish boundaries. These are essential skills and really necessary when they are teenagers and adults! So the next time your child screams ‘no’ when you ask them to get into their car seat…stay firm about the rules, but allow them to feel that their voice has been heard.
Instead try: “I hear that you don’t want to get in the car right now, but we have to go pick up your brother so you are going to get into your seat, but would you like to bring a book with you?”