The Calm Resolved Brick Wall Named Mama
What Changed My Life Part 2
In part 1 of this blog post, I mentioned something that changed my life;
that I had often been frustrated by my son’s behavior, but how I began to look at my son’s disobedience as his need to be trained and disciplined better.
This concept came to my husband and I and it made us evaluate our parenting. The result of the evaluation: Our parenting lacked.
We loved our son, there was no question there, but we just didn’t know how to teach him obedience and respect of our authority.
We talked over a course of several days and made a plan of action; what needed to change in us and what needed to change in our son.
First, we needed to change. We needed to be very clear about what we expected from our son, and to learn to communicate this to him.
We not only needed to learn to communicate it, but we needed to learn to be 100% consistent in our expectations. Not 90%, not 95%, but 100%. That was the only way he would always know what we expected of him.
Take that example of picking up the toy in order to go bye-bye. Let’s revisit that with our new perspective.
Example of How We Began To Parent that Changed Our Lives
Me: “Little One, Please pick up your toy so we can get ready to go bye-bye.” (Done with a pleasant voice and smile on my face. I also change my wording from “Mommy needs you to… to a command.)
Little One: Sitting on floor playing with said toy, no response.
With our new way of thinking and parenting, I want him to listen to me and obey the first time. I had previously accidentally trained him that I wasn’t serious until I got to 2 ½ in my counting to three. I now want him to learn to listen to my normal talking voice and know that I’m serious. I had also previously trained him that he only needed to listen to me when my voice got louder.
Me: Walking quietly over to him, I get right in front of him, on his eye level, and stare him in the eyes. I don’t say anything, but have a smile on my face and wait for him to also make lasting eye contact.
Little One: “Hey mom! You’re in my way!
Me: “I want you to listen to me. I’m going back to where I was to say what I said again. Listen to me please. “ (All of this done with a smile and pleasant tone of voice, yet with a note of authority and confidence. I walk back over to where I was when I originally told him to pick up his toy) “Little One, pick up your toy so we can go bye-bye.”
(At this point it could go one of two ways. He could do it and we’d be ready to leave quickly, or he could chose to disobey. How I train from here would depend on how he had responded up to this point, Let’s say for this exercise that he didn’t obey.)
Little One: rolls onto back, kicks feet, cries and fusses.
Me: Walk over to him keeping a calm authority and say, “Get up and go to your room.”
I continue to say it exactly like this every 15 seconds until he complies. There is possibly going to be a battle and it is IMPORTANT, let me say that again, IMPORTANT that I win. If I do not plan to carry through with a new way of thinking and acting in parenting, I may as well not start. Believe me, it will get tougher before it gets better. I would repeat the command during his fits but would not say anything else until he gets up and goes to his room. I do not give up nor change my demeanor or voice. This is exhausting, but it doesn’t last forever. My child’s behavior is not personal, and even if it is, I am the parent. He needs to learn a different way and that way starts with me. I have all the time in the world now. My main priority is for my child’s heart to be secure in me as a parent. Remember, I’m acting differently and my child may feel a little insecure in the beginning of this change.
Little One: continues to fuss and throw fit, but notices a change in me. I am not responding the way that he is used to. It makes him curious and a little scared. He finally gets up to walk tentatively to his room, albeit still very grumpy.
Me: While he’s on his way to his room, I take a couple of deep breaths to keep myself calm and hopefully lower my blood pressure. This new way is hard work in the beginning. I go to him and sit on the edge of the bed. I am quiet for a moment, smiling as he continues to calm himself down.
I tell him, “ Since you are the son, and I am the mom, you have to do what I say. We are going to go back to the living room. You’ll sit where you were sitting and I will go back to where I was. I’m going to tell you something and I want you to listen. After you listen I want you to obey without fussing.” When he obeys, I will clap and celebrate his obedience. I tell him that we’re going to practice that a few times.
Little One: He is a little rattled by my calm authority and the new way I’m acting. He goes with me back to where he was before the melt down. I go back to where I was when I first told him to put his toy away.
Me: “Little One, please put your toy away.“ (the idea of going bye-bye needs to wait. More training needs to happen before I will be confident to take him places and achieve obedience the first time I say it.)
Little One: He jumps up to put his toy away and looks at me expectantly. I clap and celebrate his obedience and give him a warm hug, telling him what a good obey-er he is. I have him go back and we practice it again a couple of times. He gets the same celebration and warm response from me each time.
This is just one scenario. This could go several ways depending on how your child responds but the important part is that you remain calm, yet like a brick wall—firm in your resolve and not about to give up. This is important, mama.
When I learned to be consistent in what I wanted from my child, it changed my life. When I learned to stop taking my child’s sin personally, it changed my life. When I learned to teach and train my child, it changed my life. These things and more can change your life as a parent too. If you’re struggling, you’re not alone, but there is help.
There is so much more that I could say here, but it would turn into a book rather than a blog post. If you’re interested in knowing more, you can purchase my booklet for parenting kids ages 4-9.