The First Challenge
Invariably, when I am counseling parents, somewhere in the conversation one or both parents will say something along the lines of:
-I’m sure I have said many things I shouldn’t have.
-I was so upset I told her I didn’t love her.
-I said X, but I didn’t really mean it.
-I told her I would leave her at the mall if she did not stop crying.
-You are so bad, I am taking away your iPad for a month.
In a moment of frustration, anxiety, or impatience, your self-control can be lost and you blurt out statements that are devastating and very difficult or sometimes impossible to retract.
Because we are always extremely aware and sensitive to the emotional needs of our children in daycare, we find ourselves often contradicting what a child will quote what their parent has said to them under the assumption they did not really mean it.
We know that children often share or display situations that occurred at home to us to have them corrected, so we are careful not to directly undermine the parent while we reassure the child that they will never hear any of those statements here, nor be treated in that manner.
Children need reassurance that they are valuable.
At the same time, when a parent does request a reasonable and expected behavior, they must be consistent and follow-up. Make sure when you speak, you have thought about the action or response you expect from your child.
If you tell them:
-We are going shopping and you are not buying a today.
-You know how to put on your socks and shoes by yourself. So be persistent and get it done!
-We are leaving the park in five minutes, see where the hand will be on my watch. I expect you to leave like a Big Girl!
-Please get your jacket before leaving daycare. Don’t bother crying, it doesn’t work!
Stick with it. If you are just implementing this approach, it will take a while for you to earn credibility! You will have to be consistent and always follow through.
The second challenge
Parents are amazed at how readily children listen to me. It is no secret how that happens:
-I really think before I speak.
-I know what they are capable of accomplishing for themselves.
-The children see that I am fair and consistent with everyone.
-They are acknowledged for completing tasks and thanked.
-We never interfere when a child wants to do task by themselves, even if we think they may not accomplish it. We only offer suggestions when they are at a standstill.
-We never use negative language, never reinforcing what they are doing incorrectly, but instead stating what we expect them to do.
-Children are never bad. Eliminate all those damaging words from your vocabulary. They may have broken rules, not listened, taken someone’s toy, thrown their food ect.
Communicate what you expect them to do to correct that. Behavior instead of repeating what they already did that was unacceptable.
It does take a while to reprogram yourself to think positively. The reward will be evident when you manage to accomplish that task.
You and your child are establishing a positive bond that earns you trust and credibility – the basis for successful parenting.
Take a deep breath and know you can do it!