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Kids should be able to differentiate which one you are and sometimes with the slightest glance, and the faintest ear.
Far too often we don’t want to say No, hurt our children’s feelings, let them down or deprive them of something.
And far too often, it turns out to be a mistake.
Kids are not going to die if we say no. If we make them wait or discipline them for doing something wrong, it will not be the end of the world.
On the contrary, we will be offering them valuable life skills and an introduction to the fact that the world is not all about them.
But what happens if today is the first day we recognize this?
What if we’ve been too soft for too long, and they don’t have a clue when you mean business?
You know what I’m talking about. You’re in the store and your child is trying fifteen different ways to get you to buy him the Cocoa Puffs? You are trying to be strong and you are sure that you’ve said NO, at least seven times. And by this point all you want to do is hide your head under a jumbo-package of toilet paper and get the heck out of there before the scene gets any worse.
So, what do you do? You give in to make him quiet down.
BZZZZZZT! Wrong Answer.
If you hadn’t known that we were playing a game, let me clue you into the fact that we are, it’s your child’ s game…and they play it VERY well.
They start young with this power game. They don’t mean it maliciously, but it gets them what they want, so therefore they continue to play it… or play you….
Let’s play a new game….
If your child is especially used to your kind and sensitive tone and stance, they will not understand when you ‘put your foot down’. And because your stomp wasn’t mean enough and your whisper wasn’t loud enough, they just kept on doing what they do.
I’ve realized that every once in a while kids need to hear and see that we mean business.
Otherwise, they can’t tell the difference.
Some parents feel that you should be able to reel in a child from bad behavior without changing tones or facial expressions….and I disagree. I’ve noticed over the years that the more nicey-nice I stay (which is my typical-mommy-style), the more they get out of hand and continue to walk over me.
I am talking about commonly known communication skills, which happen to successful keep children disciplined without much effort at all.
Here’s a grown-up example. I have been known for getting speeding tickets. No, not usually with children in the car, (that was only once) and yes, enough of them to wind up in court (again, only once). (Hey, I’m not perfect and just for the record…Ohio is a much stricter state than Connecticut, if you know what I mean.)
So, anyhow, when I received my speeding tickets, none of the officers was particularly nice. And when I went to court (for my-very-last-speeding ticket-I-will-ever-get) the judge was not particularly happy with me. He told me,with a tone, and a face, to pay my (reduced-how kind of him) fine, and that he did not want to see me there again.
If that judge, and those patrolmen, were sweet and kind and acted like my friends…do you think I’d really care about getting pulled over again, or landing in court?
L.O.L., not really.
But, it wasn‘t funny, nor did they make it much fun. (Because it’s not supposed to be.)
Case in point.
So now, here are some things I suggest to those Mushy-Mommies and Darling-Daddies who just cannot seem to get their kids to understand when they mean business. (Try practicing at home) This is where the mirror and role playing comes in:
First visualize what you want, what behavior you don’t want, and focus on finding an intimidating look (you are laughing right now… but do your children knock-off obnoxious asking, wanting, begging and sibling quarreling at the drop of an ‘ahem‘ ???- I rest my case- go back to the mirror.)
- Saying ‘NO’. (And firmly-if you don’t know how, practice #2)
- Finding a tone within you that sounds intimidating, though not degrading or demeaning.
- Getting a look which you can pull off, and seem stern, but not too scary and lets your kids know you mean business.
- Finding a strong body posture to use when you really mean what you’re saying.
You are never too old or too young of a parent to get these techniques down pat. Babies as young as 6 months old can tell very well if a parent changes a tone. Toddlers know 100% when someone wants them to get away from a stairway or a hot stove. But only if they know the tone.
(If you have any trouble with this, I’m here to help)