Thursday, July 7, 2016

Too;s for Your Parenting Tool Box - Dealing with Tantrums.

The Ministry of Information was formed by the British Government during the Second World War. They were appointed by the British Government to design morale boosting posters that would be displayed across Britain during the testing times ahead. One poster was designed to be issued in the event that Germany actually invaded Britain - "Keep Calm and Carry On."
Every parents knows that can be a challenge especially when your dealing with ta tantrum thrower (in private or in public!) So what have we got in our tool box for that?

Keep Calm and Keep on Trucking
  1. Give as little attention as possible to the "tantrum thrower" by walking away; hiding where they can't see you but you can keep an eye on them; or simply ignoring the behavior. The goal is to help kids see as quickly as possible that their fits don't work to get extra attention.
  2. Love and Logic also encourages the use of humor.  With the summer Olympics ahead you could rate the tantrum. "That was a 5 on the 1-10 Tantrum scale.  You'd better try harder" You could also try telling them to have a tantrum.  "Okay, ready? Have a tantrum now.  Let me know when you are done."  
Get more great advice and toips from Love and Logic at 

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Tools for Your Parenting Tool Box - Chores.

Chores  or "Contributions" let a child know that they are an important part of the family.  They teach responsibility.  They also teach other important values such as service to one another, sacrifice, kindness, doing a job well the first time and more. Life skills, citizen skills, and job skills all come from chores. 

 Love and Logic has a great resource on Chores called "From Bad Grades to a Great Life." to help parents help children who are under achieving at school.  But why wait to see if your child is an underachiever or not?   

The goal is to get kids to do chores without reminders and without getting paid.  (Though they can pay someone else to do their chores if they don't want to do them.) 

Here's what Love & Logic suggests (Along with a whole list of other tips)

  • A” -  Ask your child to do a chore you are sure they won’t, and give them a deadline for completion. It feels counter-intuitive but resistant children will only learn to do their chores if they learn that failing to do them will result in a consequences they don't like. When assigning the chore, don’t say, “Do it now!” Give the child a deadline instead. This gives them some control and you plenty of time to figure out what you might do if the child either refuses to do the chore or forgets. 
  • B” - Be quiet. Resist the urge to nag, remind, lecture or threaten.
  • “C” - Consequences and empathy will do the teaching. “This is so sad. I had to do your chores for you. Now I don’t have the time and energy to _____________.”  (Fill in the blank with a privilege you typically provide)
  • This is so sad, I was going to take you out to buy a new video game but now I don't have the energy to drive to the mall.
  • This is so sad, I was going to drive you to your ball game but I had to mow the lawn and I don't have the time or energy to do that.
  • Oh man,  the family is going to a movie tonight but you will have to stay home and get the lawn mowed instead.
  • When handing out allowance: This is so sad, I had to mow the lawn for you.  So I deducted the amount it would have cost to pay me from your allowance.  Neighborhood kids make $15 but I have a college degree so I charge $25.  
Want to learn more about allowances? Check out this article or the book Millionaire Babies or Bankrupt Brats.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tools for Your Parenting Toolbox - Sharing Control Through Choices

If you or your child (or both) have a high need for control then learning to give choices and share control could be one of the most amazing tools you ever use.  (It works great in extended family relationships and in customer service situations too!) 

Sharing Control Through Choices
  1. Make sure the choices you give won't cause a problem for you or for someone else. (Not: Do you want to work it out or punch it out?)
  2. Be careful one of the choices is not a punishment - so that it feels like there is no choice. (Do you want to clean your room now or get grounds for the rest of the week?)
  3. Be prepared to offer two options, either of which would be just fine with you.
  4. If the child doesn't decide in ten seconds, decide for him or her. - so they can't manipulate you through delay.  (Lead with empathy.  This is so sad. Children who can't make up their minds get to have their parents decide.)
Sample statements
  • Would you like green beans or peas for a vegetable tonight?
  • Do you think it would be better for you if we brought the kids over in the morning or after naps. (To mother-in-law)
  • Do you want to do your homework right away or after supper?
  • Would it be better to study your spelling tonight or try to do it on Thursday when your friend is here.
  • Are you going to bed now or would you like to wait until this show is over?
  • Can you stay with us and stop that, or do you need to leave for a while and come back when you are sweet?
  • Do you want to put your shirt on first or your pants?
  • Do you want to wear your batman undies or your superman undies? (Potty training)
  • Will you be home at 4:30? Or do you need an extra half hour?
  • Do you want to call Grandma on the phone or Skype with her?
  • Do you want to wash dishes or dry them?
A great resource is Avoiding Power Struggles with Kids.  You can also check out Jim Fay's article Guidelines for Sharing Control Through Choices

Monday, June 27, 2016

Tools for Your Parenting Tool Box - Leading with Empathy

Old,  primitive tools are what we use when that's all we have.  But acquiring some "Power Tools" gives you more options!  Love and Logic helps you move towards parenting "without anger, lectures, threats, or warnings (primitive tools)!" Rally.

Today's Power Tool: Lead with empathy before consequences!
This is so easy to say and a little bit harder to do because we are often trying to parent against a style of parenting we were raised with. So, this doesn't seem natural.

This one little powerful tool can improve your relationship with your small children, with adult children, with your spouse, with co-workers, with your in-laws. Here's how it works.

  1. When someone is angry or frustrated they are in an emotional state of stress that takes brain activity to the brain stem. The brain stem is reactive. It deals with "fight or flight." Brain stem mode is a bad place to be when two human beings need to communicate,
  2. Training yourself to lead with SINCERE empathy in stressful situations actually triggers your brain and the other person's brain into moving thought from the brain stem to the frontal lobe. That's where problem solving and rational thought take place.
  3. Getting into the habit of using one empathetic phrase makes this whole process easier because you (the person in control of their own brain) are less likely to engage the other person in a battle of wits or words that will only escalate "fight or flight." My favorite is a simple, "Oh Man!" but almost any neutral phrase will work if it is said with sincere empathy.
  4. Don't even let yourself go to sarcasm. Stop. I know! Just don't do it!
Once everyone is in their frontal lobes then other skills from Love and Logic can kick in.  More posts on Parenting Power Tolls are coming!  II'm scheduling posts on Mondays and Thursdays!

Here's a link from Love and Logic to check out: The Instant Empathetic Response

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tools for Your Parenting Tool Box - Law of the Instrument

The Law of the Instrument refers to over reliance on a familiar tool!   "If you've heard this statement, "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" then you've heard about this law.  (Sometimes it's attributed to Abraham Maslow but the first recorded statement of this law comes from Abrham Kaplan, "Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding."0

So what's that got to do with parenting?
The most basic and primitive discipline tools (yelling, spanking, bribery, threat, warnings) might be all we have in our tool box. Sometimes they work.  And lets face it, you have to use what you have!  

What would parenting be like if you didn't have to over rely on these old tools? Maybe acquiring some new tools might help! It might be easier to build a deck with a screw gun, a nail gun and a couple different power saws then with a hand saw and a hammer.   The same is true of parenting.  Power tolls make family life easier!

In Love and Logic you  learn  what these tools are and how to use them.

  • Leading with empathy
  • Going brain dead
  • The energy drain
  • Strategic training sessions
  • Enforceable statements
  • Guiding children to solve their own problems
  • Recovery time
  • and so much more.
So whether you find a class locally, take the online version, read some Love and Logic books, check out a webinar, or listen to some CDs... there are power tools out there to help you raise great kids and have a great relationship with them!  Parenting can be easier and more fun! More next post!

Check out this link: