I was listening to a great podcast today - I highly recommend it - by Erin Royer and is called Your Village, Parenting Beyond Discipline.
I wanted to tell you about something Erin suggested - it's especially helpful if you have a child who is prone to emotional outburst but it could be lovely for any child.
I so wish I'd known about this when my children. I think they would have all benefitted from it at some point.
So she recommends having a 'cosy space' or 'calm corner' that you can gently take your child to if they are becoming overwhelmed and starting to lose it. Here are some ways to make your space
I felt a tap on the shoulder at school pick up
'Can I have a word Mrs McGill?'
My heart sank.
In these situations you know it can only be bad news and you immediately start to doubt your parenting abilities and blame yourself for whatever your child has got up to.
My son Nico's teacher told me he had been rude and spoken back to her when he was being reprimanded for 'bullying' a boy in his class.
I was mortified and really upset with Nico.
On the way home he refused to talk to me about it.
He was sullen and bolshy.
He pushed past me when we got to the front door.
He then refused to do his homework and picked on his siblings.
My patience was really being tried by this point until I remembered my mantra
‘Look behind the misbehaviour’
At bedtime I lay beside him on his bed whilst we stared into the darkness.
I breathed slowly and said simply
“It sounds like you feel blamed for something you didn’t mean to do…”
He started off with a rant...
One day on the way back from nursery when my daughter was little, I sensed something wasn't right. We stopped to sit on a park bench and her eyes welled up with tears.
'Nobody would play with me today, they said I was a baby and couldn't join in their games'.
I felt a terrible stab in my heart and an urge to run into my daughter's school and demand what was going on.
I wanted to shake the mean girls and tell them they needed to include Scarlett.
I felt like calling up the parents to 'have a word'
It is devastating to think of our children being in pain.
We want to 'make it all better'
To take the pain away.
But all my research told me that to build resilience in a child, we need to allow them to experience tough times and not rush to protect them.
If you haven't had this kind of experience, be prepared as it will happen.
If it isn't 'nobody wants to play with me' it could be:
'I wasn't invited to the party',
'I didn't get picked for the team',
'I'm in the bottom reading group',...
One of the questions I get asked the most frequently is 'Why won't my child just the simple things like brushing her teeth or getting in the bath?'
Do you have these frustrations?
As many of you know, when Nico my eldest was 2 ½ we got help with our parenting as he was such a challenging child. It was suggested that we have some clearer rules around the house.
I didn’t like the idea of having rules as it felt too much like school and I wanted him to feel ‘free’ at home and for us to have some 'spontaneity' and anyway, I thought he should just know what's expected.
After all, we asked the same thing of him every day 'get dressed, eat breakfast, stay in bed at bedtime...' so shouldn't he just do it?
What I realised through the coaching we got was that we had an expectation that he would do what we asked without a fuss, and when he didn’t we’d ask 5 times or more, each time getting more and more frustrated until we’d wind up...
So is ‘Time-out’ any better than the ‘Naughty step’?
Firstly, I am against the naughty step for a number of reasons –
It gives the child the label ‘naughty’ and kids live up to a negative label. Even if you describe it as ‘naughty behaviour’ what they hear is ‘I’m a naughty girl/boy’ which you don’t want them to feel about themselves.
The vast majority of kids won’t actually stay on the step when you leave them there, so then you’ve got an extra problem. Not only are you trying to make them repent about what they’ve done but you have to try and force them to stay on the step as well.
When children misbehave it is driven by an emotion (you may not understand what that emotion is and it can be so dumbfounding. Why do they seem, out of the blue, to do the opposite to what they’ve been asked? But an emotion will be there. So if you don’t address the...