Every few days in a FB group, I see a post from a struggling mama throwing out an SOS & asking for parenting recommendations from strangers. 🥺
First of all, I want to commend any parent for asking for help, because it's a sign of strength 💪 & the first step to realizing what you're doing isn't working & opening up the possibility of finding new solutions! 💖
Second of all, I commend moms willing to share what has worked for them and help each other out! 💖 The responses relate & commiserate & encourage rather than judge, which is what we all need! 🙌 Good job, moms! 😎
Third, what I find interesting is the most popular comments share advice based on misconceptions our culture has told us are true about raising littles- the most popular one being . . .
➡️ Consistent, negative consequences MUST be enforced without fail in order to effectively alter negative behavior. ⬅️
---"Take it away & send her to bed. She knows how far she can push you, & she'll take it a step further each time. The punishment HAS to be uncomfortable or it won't work."
---"We had to take his toys, plus he spent a lot of time in his room. He finally figured it out."
---"Throw all the cookies away. There has to be consequences for bad choices."
---"Throw it in the trash, set her in the corner facing the wall for 4 minutes & tell her when she's done why she's there."
---"She is testing you. Hold your ground & take action after the first warning where she doesn't comply."
---"Stay stern with her & start taking things from her. I finally got through to her."
While punishment scientifically has been proven to alter future behavior in humans, unfortunately, parenting is so much more complicated than time outs & sticker charts.
➡️ Strong-willed kiddos are far less motivated by avoiding/fearing a negative consequence & earning a reward. In addition, replacement behaviors & coping strategies need to be TAUGHT in order for future behavior to change.
But most importantly, we don't finally get through to them.
➡️➡️ THEY'RE TRYING TO GET THROUGH TO US. ⬅️⬅️
All behavior is communication and it's our job to decode it. They're expressing the only way they're able to that they have a PROBLEM that needs solving.
-Underlying needs aren't being met.
-Skills haven't been learned.
-Hunger & exhaustion are prevailing.
While rewards & consequences have their place, the tools of empathy, collaborative problem-solving, and kind YET FIRM follow-through by a confident leader ready to step in & help them when they show they are struggling are MORE EFFECTIVE long-term, while protecting & STRENGTHENING our relationship of influence rather than straining it. 💖
This is the message I hope to educate & empower parents with! I believe it has the capacity to entrust the next generation with much more powerful ways to see themselves, care for others, & solve problems as adults!
It is HARD. It takes more time. It is EXHAUSTING WORK. We aren't trained to do it & we mess up all the time.
BUT, It will CHANGE THE WORLD. 💖🌎💖
We can do HARD things together. 🦸♀️ You with me? 👊