By Guest: Lori Wildenberg
Before kids – did you have a temper? I honestly didn’t think I had much of one. But…God has humbled me with my four blessings. Once I “acquired” children my false reality was shattered. I’ll admit it- I’m the not so proud owner of a temper.
Parenting is the best-hardest job, filled with intense emotions. Because we are so passionate about and invested in our kids, we get annoyed and angry when they don’t do what we say. Cooperation is so much nicer than conflict. How come kids don’t get that? Most parents are exasperated and wonder, “Why can’t my child just do what I say?”
Well, the question could be answered broadly with two words, “Sin nature.” It’s the human reality. Doing the wrong thing is in each one’s DNA. BUT there is hope! Parents have the ability to increase their child’s level of cooperation. And… get a load of this… it can be done fairly easily! (You are now saying to yourself, “Yah, right. You don’t know my kid.” Just keep reading.)
In my parenting classes I have the moms and dads close their eyes as I give a directive. Of course you the reader can’t do that so I’ll ask you to be keenly aware of the vision in your mind’s eye. What do you see when I say, “Don’t stand on the slide?” If you are like the hundreds of parents I’ve spoken to you will have pictured a person standing on the slide.
Interesting isn’t it? So what do you think your child sees when you say, “Don’t stand on the slide?” Yes! He pictures himself standing on the slide. Having immature filters, he proceeds to the action of standing on the slide. The word don’t is not even processed. Hmmmm….
Okay, knowing the word don’t is typically ineffective, what can be done instead? Here’s the answer, use the word do or state things in the positive. Replace, “Don’t stand on the slide” with “Sit on the slide.” Now the child pictures the preferred action and is more likely to comply.
As moms, we have a long list of what we don’t want. Maybe that’s why the don’ts naturally pop out of the mouth first. This is a bad habit to be broken. Here’s the trick: think of the behavior you want to avoid, think of what you want to have happen in its place, then speak it. With a little practice this is an easily implemented strategy with excellent results.
Due to our sin nature and our children’s we will still have those frustrating moments and mad may show up. But by reprogramming our thoughts those times can be reduced. State your expectations in the positive. Be encouraged-this works. You can do it!
“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.”-Proverbs 31:26 NIV
Lori Wildenberg, mother of four and wife for twenty-nine years, has a full resume when it comes to parenting and family living. She’s a licensed Parent and Family Educator, certified teacher, and consultant. Lori is the co-author of EMPOWERED PARENTS: Putting Faith First and a contributor to a number of other Christian books. The Wildenbergs and their labradoodle live in a home nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. For more information go to Lori’s website at: http://www.loriwildenberg.com or subscribe to her Eternal Moments blog at: http://www.loriwildenberg.blogspot.com .