“Don’t make me count to 10!”

By Carol Dores

“If you don’t stop that, you’ll lose TV privileges for a week!”

“Why won’t you stop doing that when I tell you?”

“Go to your room and think about what you’ve done!”

“1, 2, 3….”

Ah, the sounds of raising our sons.  These threats and real punishment sometimes worked, and more often didn’t.  When it did work, we all felt awful.  I felt so mean, and they felt treated so poorly.  When it didn’t work, my anger kept escalating.  And our sons knew that I would most often give in, and wouldn’t follow through on my threats.

Most importantly, none of this helped them to grow into the responsible and respectful adults that we wanted.

So how do we parent for the long term, to raise the kind of people we want?

Deciding what we will do and following through is one way.  When everyone is calm, be clear about what the expectation is, and what you will do if the expectation is not met.  For example, “We will be leaving for soccer practice at 4:00.  If you are not ready, we will not be going.”  Then, ask them to repeat what is going to happen, making sure they have all of the details correct.  Following through without blame or comment is really important.  When 4:00 comes, if they are not ready to leave, you can say something like, “we can try again tomorrow.”

Another way is have a discussion and problem solve together.  For many families, the amount of time spent on devices is an issue.  First, begin with each person sharing their feelings.  Children may share that they do not get enough time on their devices, or that their friends get more time than they do.  Parents often share that they feel their children spend way too much time on their devices.  Once feelings are shared calmly and respectfully, come up with ideas together without judging any of the ideas, writing them all down.  A child may start with unlimited time, a parent with no time, then moving to ideas in between.  See if you can both reach a place that you can try for one week.  At the end of a week, everyone shares their feelings with how it went, and if they are happy with the solution, or would like to try another one.  Even if one agreement works for a while, it is common to have to revisit the problem in a few months.

Parenting with mutual respect helps children build their sense of responsibility, respect, and problem solving.  Positive Discipline parenting….no blame, shame or pain…..parenting for the long term

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