The greatest parenting advice came from my own Mother, who used to work with at risk youth in a past job. She said they would use short and direct words to curve problamatic behavior. “Stop! Look. Listen”. It all made perfect sense that the more words we began to put into parenting with added volume, the less they listened and the more they were afraid of us instead of truly understanding right from wrong.
With that, here are our short directives for turning kids behavior from “in trouble” to the safe zone:
- “oh, no”. This phrase will work well if you begin to follow it up for the first two weeks with a short sentence afterwards. Example: Mimi didn’t pick up her legos. You’ve asked for her to do so, she thinks otherwise. Your g
o to: “oh, no…now we have to put these legos in Mommys closet. You’re going to lose your privilege”. Here’s the kicker, now its time to follow through and not just be one empty threat after another. Yes, consistency is ultimately going to win.
- Years ago I read a beautiful blog about the three magic words in child bartering. Coming from
a family of salesmen and women, bartering is in the blood. However, when Mom and Dad speak with an answer, that answer needs to be able to hold weight without negotiators. The three magic words for our family is “Asked and answered”. Again, a week or two of follow up to explain this new rule may need to be applied. “Mahlia you asked me earlier, and I answered you already hunnie. Asked and answered.” Genius.
- Angers fly. Tempers flare. Spats are conjured out of thin air. To simply guide our kiddos back into our family motto, we simply say one word to remind them of the fruits of the spirit. “Kindness”. Galations 5:22-23 read, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law”. Writing this where it is visible for your kiddo(s) for a week or two and reading it together consecutively will, again, reinstate your new family rule. Pick whichever word works for your family to bring them back to their senses.
- I do believe you will see a great turn around by simply staying consistent in your love for your babes, as well as a change for the better in their behavior. This method of short and simple words has worked with our girls ages 2-8. In this beautiful life we have been given as parents, may we remember that we are just that: parents. Not buds, chummy pals, or best friends. You are the parent who loves your children enough to train your children up in the way that they should go.