Adventures in Parenting

I was at a baby shower the other day and was talking to this really sweet, albeit somewhat intoxicated woman. To my great surprise she told me there was a book about how to be a parent! What? I certainly didn’t get that book after I had my first son…and no one coughed it up after my second pregnancy either.

I think, perhaps, it was the white wine talking, since I’ve never seen a book all about how to navigate the perils of parenting. If there were such a book, I would surely have read it cover to cover by now.

So, although there is not a book all about how to parent your child, there are some pretty handy books out there that can give you some (super powers) skills to help you through. My favorite book on parenting is How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

htt_book cover

I’ve been reading this book for a few months now, pouring over the pages slowly and deliberately, soaking in as much as I can and realizing that, not only is this stuff pretty easy to implement, but it works!

I first heard about the “How To Parenting Program” a few months ago when I was doing research for one of my psychology papers. There are stack of research studies that share very positive results from this program. I was impressed, so I bought the book and now, I’m hooked.

htt_cartoon
Taken from How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, copyright 2012

Whether you have a toddler or teenager, the cartoon above is likely familiar to you. I bet you can even feel the mom’s frustration in the final frame as the tantrum gets into full swing. What is your typical reaction to this scenario?

Well, in How To Talk, you’ll learn several different skills for how to more constructively deal with situations like this. Here are a few options:

  • Give the feeling a name: “Its a bummer when we don’t have your favorite cereal.”
  • Give him his wish in fantasy: “I wish I had a giant bowl of them, with a giant spoon!”

Name the Feeling

When you give your child’s feeling a name, you help them on several levels.

First, they can now label their feelings and will be able to communicate more appropriately how they are feeling.

Secondly, kids begin to understand that emotions (frustration, anger, sadness, happiness, etc.) are not inherently bad or good. Emotions are simply temporary states that they can control. Naming the emotion helps them recognize it and choose whether they would like to continue feeling that way or not.

Entertain Fantasy

Giving your child his wish in a fantasy gets down to your child’s level. Kids don’t really appreciate concrete, logical explanations for why they cannot enjoy their favorite cereal (or whatever). You’ll notice that the more logical and rational you try to be, the louder their tantrum becomes. However, when you can let loose, have some fun and dream a little, you can make reality seem not so desperate.

Suddenly, eating a different kind of cereal isn’t so disgusting.

I have had a hard time cutting loose with my kids lately. I attribute it mostly to the stress I was under while taking classes full time and working full time. Yeah, it’s mostly just an excuse, but nonetheless, I was kind of a stick-in-the-mud for the last several months. However, even in the final weeks of my degree program, I started to use this skill specifically – giving the boys what they want in fantasy – and it completely transformed our relationship!

Now, rather than simply telling my kids they can’t have the newest Lego set because it isn’t in the budget, we try to one up each other on our grand wishes for how we can get that Lego set.

I wish I could have all the Lego’s in the world! Then, I’d build a rocket to the planet Lego and get even more Lego’s then fly back home and share them with my friends and we could build a Lego-making machine to make a whole world out of Lego’s!

Sounds like fun, right?

Why not try out one of these skills and let me know how it goes! Leave a comment here or on my Facebook page – or send me a shout out on Twitter!

 

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