I’m doing this challenge right now, because I need it! I hope this will help me more intentional and accountable!
Thank you Mother Jones for the picture.
How many of you have heard the phrase “Say what you mean and mean what you say?” How many of us actually follow through? Especially when it comes to our kids?
I know I’ve been there, I’ve noticed that I always get more lenient with this when I’m nursing (or tired, or stressed, etc) and I always pay the price! (When am I going to learn?)
How many have played this scene out in your house?
Parent: “Time to get in bed.”
One minute later; “Don’t make me start counting!”
Another minute later; “One, two, …”
Another minute later; “Why don’t you ever listen to me?”
(Starting to see the pattern here?!)
I hate to say it, but at least half the time our kids don’t listen, because we’ve taught them not to listen. We always give reminders,count just a little bit slower, etc. Kids are smart, they know we don’t really mean what we say!
There are only a couple of ways that I know how to turn my words to gold.
Being consistent is hard and takes energy (which many parents are low on these days!).
When we instruct our children to do it, we need to make sure they comply, and fairly quickly. We need to do this after we’ve said it once, make sure there are no “reminders.” Another thing to stay away from is counting. When you start to count, you tell your child that I really don’t mean it, I’ll give you more time!
Ever notice how they try and push the limit a little farther every time?
I’ve decided today to really start implementing this, because my three year old is driving me crazy. I say something and it’s like I’m speaking another language, he just doesn’t comply!
We usually have nap time/quiet time after lunch. Today was no different. When he was finished, I told him it was time to go to bed. He started asking me if he could watch TV or play with his cars. After giving him a few second to decide if he was going to comply (which he decided against) I simply picked him up and put him in bed. I’ve now had to pause several times while writing this post, to put him back in bed and take away whatever item he was playing with. No yelling, no screaming, actually, not even saying a word.
Now I need to implement this strategy when I’m nursing! ;p
Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say
This goes hand-in-hand with consistency, but when you tell them something, you need to follow through.
Make sure that you don’t get side-tracked and forget to follow through! If you are in the middle of something and they decide not to comply, then stop what you are doing and make sure they do what you’ve asked (or let natural consequences do the job).
Stay as calm as possible and say as few words (or none!) as possible.
The angrier we get, the more power we give them.
The more we talk, the more chance they have to try and argue, persuade, or manipulate us.
*(Hold on, I need to return a handsome little guy back to his bed!)
Let natural consequences teach them you mean what you say.
If they don’t get their swimming bag ready for lessons, then they don’t go to class. If they don’t go to class, they will need to pay you back for that class.
If their room isn’t clean, then it would be a shame if they had to miss out on a party or fun activity because they couldn’t leave the house. Because “kids with clean rooms are ready to leave.”
However, make sure that you are okay with the natural consequence before you decide which route to take. if they are not ready for school in time and there is absolutely no other way for them to get to school, then they may need to pay you gas money or having the car be idle while waiting for them. Or pay you to compensate for the time off work, etc.
Whatever you do, do NOT bail them out. it may be hard to watch, but you will have to deal with the consequences if you do.
This will be the same challenge all four weeks. Implement the above strategies. Dig down deep and remember that sacrifices now, will be worth it later. Even if it’s late and you’re tired, make sure to not give them any leeway. Even if it’s completely inconvenient, do it any way. Remember, no pain, no gain. It took us a little while to teach, so it will take even more work to undo!
Good luck and let us know how it goes!
*First week: I seemed to have followed a pattern. I’d have one good day implementing the above, and then the next day would be a wash! :( Hopefully this week I can be a little more consistent!
Are there any suggestions you would like to add?