When we explained to our 3 children that there would be a babysitter every Tuesday for a while and that we were doing a parenting course, the response was: "well mummy, hopefully it will make you kinder and not so stressy". And in a nutshell, that is exactly why I am doing it. I do hope that my children will notice the difference, I have no doubt that I will hear about it if they don't!
So, last week's session was all about misbehaviour and not taking the bait. We were asked to tick the boxes that we felt related to the issues in our home. Having 3 children of different sexes and ages, I have to say that it was more a case of what didn't get ticked, than what did.....answering back, constant fighting and squabbling, throwing tantrums, uncooperative, telling lies, neglecting pet, won't wash without being reminded....and on and on and on.
Obviously tackling all of these in one week would be an impossible task, so we decided to focus on 2 particular issues: constant squabbling and answering back.
We were encouraged to practice the art of 'not taking the bait'. Apparently, misbehaviour is usually fuelled by an in-built desire for our attention. It was suggested that we try 2 methods:
- Respond by doing the exact opposite of what we normally do - our current one is clearly not effective.
- Plan to give at least one child unexpected positive attention every day.
We have had various opportunities to 'not take the bait' over answering back, with 2 tweens in the house this is a regular occurence! I am pleased to say that last night I managed to keep my cool even after 30 minutes of screaming "I hate you" and stamping of feet (that was the child not me!) and I received an unprompted apology - probably a first in our house.
We have also been mindful of giving positive attention. This part is not rocket science and it only really requires 10-15 minutes of our time, but in our busy lives this often gets overlooked. Putting new habits into place is never easy and I have blown it a few times this week but have also made progress. Tomorrow's session is about encouraging responsibility in our children.....more on that next time!
What is the main misbehaviour issue in your home?