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The response to my last blog, 7 Things Your Kid Wants From You But Will Never Ask
, was enormous. Scores of people shared it on their social media sites. So, a big thank you!
It seems prudent to follow up with a blog to help parents get at some of the things your kid wants but will never ask. I am not going to barrage you with a list of things to do. Instead I want to focus on one simple concept. Being the leader your kid needs now.
Deep down inside, your kid wants you to be 3 things: loving, firm, and fun. Do you possess all three on a consistent basis? If you waver in these areas your kid will react negatively in one way or another. They need you to be the leader who sets the tone for the family.
Every parent can be a leader by taking control in these 5 areas.
[Tweet “Deep down inside, your kid wants you to be 3 things: loving, firm, and fun.”]
Taking control over negative beliefs about your parenting
One of the places many parents get stuck is in their head. Guilt and fear are primary negative beliefs that drive their decisions.
Here are a few examples of guilt scripts. “I am not doing enough for my kid… I’m not around enough for my kid…I’m not giving my kid what he wants…”
Fear scripts may sound like this. “I fear my kid will fail… I am afraid I will ruin my kid… I am afraid my kid won’t like me… I am afraid my kid is making me look like a bad parent…I am afraid I will fail as a parent…”
Negative beliefs contribute to defeatism. Beliefs inform behavior. Parents on the run repeat patterns based on fear and guilt hoping that somehow things will improve down the road.
It is important to change your script. Your parenting approach will change accordingly. Here are a few examples of positive scripts (beliefs).
“I live in a world of imperfect parents. Therefore I choose not to beat myself up.” “I choose love over fear as the primary motivation for my decisions.” “If I say no it’s not the end of the world. My kid will get over it.”
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Taking control over your negative attitude toward your kid
When conflict patterns develop in parent-child relationships negative attitudes develop. This forms a posture for future interactions. Brains form default attitudes that activate when a scent of conflict is in the air.
“I can’t stand being around her. She always pushes my buttons.” “He is just a defiant kid. No matter what I say, he’s not going to listen.”
Kids can detect the negative attitude. It reinforces their own mistaken belief that they are not loved.
If you want to be the leader your kid needs now you have to get control over your negative attitude. Your “button-pushing” kid is looking for attention. Try giving it to her in a positive manner. Your defiant son is willful and being assertive. Perhaps these are positive traits, simply taken a little too far.
Changing your attitude will shift your interaction from negative to positive. Again, be the leader who sets the tone. Be loving and firm, and your kid will comply. More on tone in a moment.
Taking control of your emotions and reactions in the heat of battle
Before you can expect your kid to exercise emotional control, you must get a grip on your’s first. Emotional control is developed early in infancy and childhood through interactions with a parent. This process continues into adolescence and matures in adulthood–hopefully.
When you are in conflict with your kid, it is crucial that you control your emotions and reactions. In this podcast
I walk you through some simple steps. I use these personally and coach them to my clients.
Taking control of establishing a tone of respect in the family
Who sets the tone in your family? We are talking mood, type and quality of interaction. Work on your tone being positive, loving and firm. Do not allow your child’s negative mood to hijack the house. Coach your child into working on changing his mood. This is accomplished by you maintaining your tone of respect.
In my book, “Bringing Respect Back: Communicating Without Conflict”
I go in depth on how parents can establish a tone of respect in the family. It begins with showing respect to your kid even when you’re buttons are being pushed. Establishing boundaries on how people talk and act toward each other maintains a tone of respect in the home. If someone is out of line, the parent needs to step in and address it right away. This calls for leadership. This is what your kid wants from you now.
Taking control of your calendar to create more time for family fun
I am deeply concerned about what I call the “modern day runaway train”. It is the family calendar. It is moving down a daily track at high speed with no one manning the control. Activities are plugged in without consideration of the overall impact on the family. Entire households are on the run from dusk to dawn. Weekends are spent running from ballfields to rehearsals.
[Tweet “I am deeply concerned about what I call the “modern day runaway train”. It is the family calendar.”]
I hear the complaints, the worries and concerns from parents about their busy schedules. Yet, from week-to-week, month-to-month, and year-to-year nothing changes. Everyone is stressed to the max, on edge, and on each other’s nerves. Very little margin is left for fun and relaxation. Chores, homework, or work tasks stare you in the face.
What you’re missing is fun, pure fun. When is the last time you had unplanned, spontaneous fun with your kid playing a board game, squirt gun fight, or hide-n-seek? (Netflix doesn’t count.) Your kid needs to experience fun with you. These are the things they will remember years from now. By taking control of your calendar to create time for family fun you will be the leader your kid needs now.
Now it’s your turn
5 things you can do to be the leader your kid needs now. What is one thing out of the 5 you can do work on now? Leave your comment below or on one of my social media sites.