When you join the exclusive club of Parenthood, you become a lifetime member with the code of ethics that you will always love your child unconditionally no matter what.
Although we have that part down pat as parents, we sometimes forget to implement other positive parenting practices that don’t always make us feel very loving at the time. However, these skills and practices are crucial for raising loving, well-rounded children. It’s the tough love factor.
Many times we lose the battle of saying, “No” to our children in order to keep the peace in a public tantrum situation. Other times we are so tired at the end of our day, we may just give in to their repeated requests. But, this may confuse your child in the long run, rather than help them establish clear boundaries and expected outcomes.
Here are a few tips on how to take a more balanced approach to raising loving, well-rounded children with a dash of tough love to help them grow.
It’s Ok To Say “No.”
As parents, nothing warms our hearts more than to see our children filled with happiness. However, it is also important to say, “No” to some of their requests and create clear boundaries.
Children are very smart and quickly become masters at the power struggle for what they want from you. The age old “tantrum in the grocery store” is a prime example. Many parents give in to their child’s repeated requests to avoid the loud embarrassment of their child screaming down isle 10, 11 and 12. But, that will only make matters worse for you next time. If you concede to their tantrum just to quiet them and avoid disapproving looks from fellow shoppers, you have now taught them that tantrums are the “tried and true” way for them to get exactly what they want from you. Moreover, the likelihood that they will have another tantrum soon is imminent.
This is where the word “tough love” comes into play. There are a few ways you can handle this situation in a loving, and effective way.
For children of age that can understand consequences: 4 and up
1) Set Expectations: Tell your child calmly before you go into the grocery store that this trip is for the items on your list only.
2) Make An Agreement Before You Go Into The Store: For example, tell your child that if you have a tantrum in the store or behave badly, we will leave immediately, and your child will not be allowed to (fill in the blank for an age appropriate punishment, such as time-out, writing sentences, taking away iPad or another toy of choice).
3) Repeat: Make sure your child repeats this agreement back to you, so you know that they understand. You are now informing your child in advance, that if they choose to have a tantrum in the store, they will also be making the choice to lose their iPad for the rest of the day. The control now is in their hands for how the situation will turn out.
3) Make The Punishment Related To The Bad Behavior: For example: If your child hits his sibling in the store, relate the punishment to his hands: “Because you used your hands for hurting, you now have to use your hands for helping. When we get home, you will have to help clean up your brothers room.”
4) Do Not REMIND Them. It’s important that you don’t continue to remind them of the agreement for consistency and expected outcome purposes. For instance, If your child starts having a tantrum in the store, do not begin with “Remember what mommy told you, I’m going to take away the iPad if you continue.” You need to be firm on your agreement and follow through with the consequence. Otherwise, your child will continue to test the new situation to see how far they can get with their power struggle. Here’s an example of how you can handle the situation: Once your child has started with their tantrum, you can say, “Ok, we made an agreement about tantrums. Because you chose to have a tantrum about not getting the cookies you wanted in the store, you have now chosen to lose your dessert at dinner.” The child will begin to understand that the consequences are a result of their bad choice.
5) Keep Your Emotions Out Of It. It’s very easy for parents to raise their voice sometimes and bring emotions into the discipline, but it is not very effective. Try to remain calm and “matter of fact” with your child when disciplining them. Staying calm will teach them that their consequence is a result of their bad choice and is not related to your disappointment or anger towards the situation. It’s important that your child learns this cause and effect.
6) “Way To Go!” Positive Encouragement
Fortunately, praising our children tends to be something that most parents are excellent at and this is just a reminder to continue to encourage your child’s good behavior. When your child follows the implemented rules or does something correct, be sure to let them know how proud you are of their accomplishments and good diligence.
Sometimes we get accustomed to telling our child “no” and “stop that,” that we forget to praise them when they are doing something correctly. Following through with your agreements and consequences, is just as important as letting your child know they are doing something correctly. We should try to balance out the positive encouragement with their discipline.
Your child’s sense of boundaries will directly influence their actions. Be consistent with their outcomes and consequences, as well as their praise. This practice will help your child understand cause and effect as well as love and respect. Balance and consistency are key! Except when it comes to hugs, kisses, and love, you can never give your child enough of those, so load up!
For more inspirational blogs visit: AwakenedMom.com or Jillography.com
Jill Assalti is a proud mother of two young boys. She ran track at Florida State University for two years and then earned her Bachelors of Arts Degree with honors from the University of South Florida. She is a Florida native but spent her earlier years working in Miami, New York, and Los Angeles as a professional actress, writer, and singer.
She is a graduate of The Second City Conservatory and has performed and written sketches at The Second City as well as Improv Olympic.
Jill has also been part of the Screen Actors Guild (S.A.G.) and American Federation of Television Artists (A.F.T.R.A.). She has had the privilege of working with Michael J. Fox, Heather Locklear, Kevin Spacey, Danny Devito, James Gandolfini, and other inspirational artists in her career.
She is currently a Motivational Speaker focusing on helping people find their “Life’s Purpose.” She also teaches “Transform Your Life Through Positive Thinking” and The Power of Thought” to name a few. Jill is a published author and tv personality in Tampa Florida. To see more of her inspirational articles and to find out more information. Please visit www.Jillography.com
“I think it’s important to know what drives you and makes you feel alive. Find out what you’re passionate about and pursue it, no matter what anyone else thinks. If you can find a way to use your skills and talents to benefit someone else’s life, as well as your own, then that’s your life’s purpose. I feel very lucky to be living a purpose-driven life.” ~ Jill Assalti