Did you get a chance to listen to Amy McCready’s Positive Parenting Webinar last night? If not, it’s okay. I took notes!
The main points of this webinar were to go over the real reasons children misbehave, and then provide tools on how to effectively address the misbehavior. These techniques are intended for children 2.5 and older, as they need to be able to fully communicate and understand consequences.
Positive Parenting is based on Adlerian Psychology, which believes that each person needs to belong and feel significant. Amy explained kid’s core emotional needs are that for attention and power, it is just human nature to be that way. Power was defined as feeling independent or autonomous. From a child’s perspective, they feel they don’t have much control over their day. As parents, we are telling our kids what to eat, when to eat it, what to wear, when to go to bed, etc.
When children feel they are not getting enough attention or power, they act up by throwing tantrums or misbehaving because they then have power over the parent and the situation and receive attention. Amy says the biggest power struggles over younger children happen at meal time, bed time and potty time because those are times when they are in control. We can’t force them to do any of those things. For older children, it comes in the form of back talk, arguing or ignoring.
Amy emphasized that all humans are born with free will, and they will choose whether or not to listen and follow rules. Typical parenting strategies such as time out, counting 1-2-3, coaxing or bribing and yelling are not effective because it does not encourage the child to feel positive, it will only escalate the situation and cause the child to feel more negative.
I loved this quote she shared:
“Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children DO BETTER, first we have to make them FEEL WORSE?” –Jane Nelsen, EdD
The problem with punishment is that it makes the kids feel worse and encourages lying to avoid getting in trouble. Amy also noted that misbehavior is never just a kid problem, that we the parents play an equal role. That completely resonated with me.
Amy then shared the 5 R’s of consequences:
- Respectful: Consequences should have no blame, shame or pain. And always be sure to speak calmly to your child, even if it means taking a 15 or 20 minute breather before talking to them about their behavior.
- Related: The consequence must be related to the behavior. This enables the learning event to take place. Unrelated consequences feel unfair to the child, and rightfully so.
- Reasonable in duration. The consequences are not intended to make the child suffer, rather teach them that their behavior was unacceptable.
- Revealed in advance. This gives the child the power to choose!
- Repeat back to Mom or Dad what the rule and consequence of breaking the rule is. That way you never have to nag or remind them. They are clear on what the rule is and what happens when they break it. Make sure you don’t over explain things you have already talked about!
Amy said make sure you don’t “Piggyback” which means “I told you so.” Don’t speak disrespectfully to the child. A child must feel respected to act respectfully. Simply tell them “I’ve noticed that you chose to break this rule and loose such and such privilege (or whatever the agreed upon consequence is.)” That way the power is still in the child’s hands and you are not provoking a tantrum.
Speaking of tantrums, Amy says as long as the child is safe and all of their basic needs have been met (sleep, food, water, etc.) that tantrums should be ignored. Often tantrums are the child trying to get you to change your mind on a consequence or to pull you into a power struggle. These are the tantrums which should be ignored, granted no one will be injured.
Amy also said the first time a misbehavior happens, it does not need a consequence. This will be the time you calmly speak with the child and decide on a consequence together should the misbehavior happen again. Do not repeat or remind.
Can I just say I LOVED this? I definitely recommend checking out one of her upcoming free webinars. The schedule can be found here.
If you attend a webinar, Amy offers a discount code to sign up for her program, which offers many more solutions of all kinds of misbehavior. She stated that the consequences she explained above are only applicable about 10 – 15% of the time! I was like uh-oh, I have so much to learn. I really liked Amy and she seems like she would go above an beyond to help parents enrolled in her program see changes. She promised one day you will look back and see that you haven’t remembered the last time you yelled. Sounds like heaven to me! 🙂