I am often asked what mom’s can do about their misbehaving kids. Moms are desperate for new ideas, I hear it everywhere I go – some miracle cure or potion that will make their kids’ eyes glaze over and be willing to do anything you ask! Well, if I had that I certainly wouldn’t be writing blog posts, I am sure I would have been on Oprah by now!
But I do have a simple 4 “C” approach to parenting that I introduce to mom’s I coach:
Also, if you have not done my 5 part series, “The Opening Act” – I would suggest that as a starting point to making some positive changes in your home!
You cannot talk about parenting without taking a look at common sense. When you keep common sense in mind when you’re coming up with new decisions regarding discipline you will have a much better chance of succeeding. By looking at the unique and individual needs of your child you can make adjustments to accommodate your child, your family, the environment and also your inner wisdom as a mom. You know, that feeling you have in the pit of your stomach that helps guide you along? We all have it, whether we truly know it or not. God gave us a unique gift to know our children in ways that others cannot.
I could write several posts on consequences and the value they have in helping you achieve responsible and productive adults. Consequences are outcomes – negative or positive – of a person’s action. By their nature, they gauge our behavior because we typically strive for positive outcomes or consequences. A consequence is what happens when you make a choice – they can be either good or they can be bad, depending upon the choice made. I think the word ‘consequence’ has a bad rap, because it is often only associated with being ‘bad’. In fact, everyday in my home I feel my children get three times as many good consequences due to their choices than bad consequences – it is all about choices.
You as the parent can look at certain behavior or trouble areas that seem to occur daily and make a decision on what needs to happen. Your child has the opportunity to make a choice and deal with the consequence.
You have two types, natural consequences which occur naturally- they are not controlled or manipulated by anyone. If your child chooses to not wear a coat, then they will be cold outside. You also have logical consequences, which are situations engineered by the person in authority. They are logically connected to the wrong (choice). It is logical because it “fits” the offense or choice made. If your child doesn’t eat their dinner then there is no dessert, or if they don’t clean up their toys at the end of the day, they lose them for a period of time. These are all logical consequences of their choices.
This is most likely the hardest area of parenting. I think it can be easy to come up ideas, begin to implement them, but when things get busy and we get overwhelmed we often fail our children because of our lack of follow through. Sound familiar? I know, it happens to me too!
But this is huge in the equation of making all of this work effectively. Your child has to trust your word and know that you will be doing what you say – even when you are busy and have to stop what you are doing in order to “do” whatever it is your said would happen if your child made ______ choice.
Sometimes it is easy to follow through and be consistent, sometimes it is hard. Those times when your child does not eat his dinner and the family had plans to go get ice cream with friends later that evening – well – do you stick to your ‘word’ and not allow them dessert? If you give in, what message is that sending to your child?
Be very cautious of handing out consequences if you think you may not be able to follow through. If you do not follow through, you are truly not doing your child any favors, although it feels like you are at the time.
A family that plays together stays together. By being intentional in the way your family spends their time ‘together’ you will create a sense of unity that will help everyone feel part of something much bigger than themselves. Do you play games, can you get outside to ride bikes, does your family pray before your meals, or serve in the community together?
Find ways that you can connect as a family everyday. That is why family meal time is so critical to families succeeding today. It is time set aside that is guarded for the family to connect, refresh and enjoy each other’s company. Make sure this time is fun, full of positive conversation and have everyone share in the responsibility, whether cooking, setting the table or cleaning up.
If you keep these four “C”’s in mind as you venture ahead in your parenting, I can assure that you will make positive movement in creating responsible and productive adults!
Do you have another “C” that you might add to the list?