Top 10 tips on how to be a happier parent in 2014
- Focus on what your children and teenagers do well.
When you are having a difficult time with one of your children it’s natural to worry about it, talk about it with your partner and friends and pay attention to the behaviour that’s troubling you. Are you then inclined to think this behaviour is happening more of the time than it really is? You can address the balance by paying attention to the good things that are happening, the good behaviour and remark on it. You’ll soon find you see more of it.
- Introducing the feedback sandwich.
Do you find your child switches off when you tell them off or criticise them or nag them? This certainly happens when we raise our voice and the pitch. Instead, use the feedback sandwich. Start by mentioning something positive you’ve noticed about their behaviour. Then tell them what you’d like to see more of or less of and finally reinforce with an overall positive ending with a ‘yes tag’ such as “and I’m sure you can do that, can’t you?”
- Tell them what you DO want.
We’ve all used the ‘don’t’ word, haven’t we? We tell them ‘don’t do this’ and ‘don’t do that’. It’s much easier for them to do what you tell them to do than process what it is you don’t want them to do, which actually gives them the idea of doing it.
- Get rid of the word ‘try’.
You don’t want them to ‘try’ you want them to actually ‘do it’ don’t you? So tell them and they will. ‘Try’ suggests you don’t have much faith in their ability to do it and it gives them a ready-made ‘get out clause’. Show you have confidence that they can do it by just telling them to do it.
- Be the behaviour you want.
Children follow your lead so show them what you want from them.
- Speak with authority.
The lower the pitch of your voice and the slower you speak, the more in control and authoritative you will sound.
- Encourage internal referencing.
Even very small children can work things out for themselves and you should encourage them to do this ready for school and later to protect them from negative peer group pressure.
- The map is not the territory.
Children see things differently and aren’t deliberately being difficult. Imagine you are in their shoes; would you really want to stop playing or watching TV to go shopping, school or bed?
- Be specific.
Tell them precisely what it is that you’re pleased about so they know what to do more of. Simply telling them to ‘be good’ or ‘do as you’re told’ is vague.
- Match their language.
Some children are more visual, others more auditory and others kinaesthetic. Use language that matches their preference so they understand and connect with you. By speaking the same language they will know exactly what you want them to do.
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