Someone (I'm guessing without kids) wrote and told me something along the lines of, "You'd better not let your kids make too much noise on the plane. There's nothing worse than a parent who was irresponsible and had more kids than they can control."
Well shoot, I need to keep them quiet? Now here I was planning on letting them run up and down the aisles of the plane yelling. I was going to let them bring a guitar too so they could bang it on everyone's head as they walked past. Movie anyone?
As far as "controlling" my kids. Of course I don't control them. Nor do I want to control them. I want to teach them to control themselves.
Hal Runkel, author of, Screamfree Parenting, states in his book, that we as parents are not responsible for our children. What? We’re not responsible for them? Reading that statement, I immediately love this guy. Hooray! If Hal Runkel, licensed marriage and family therapist, says that I’m not responsible for my son when he doesn’t do his homework, or my daughter when she talks back to me, or my toddler who flings himself, screaming, onto the floor of the doctor’s office, then I’m 100% behind his Screamfree method of parenting.
Reading further in the book, Hal states that although we are not responsible for our children, we are indeed, responsible to them. I knew there was a catch! What he means by this is that we are not responsible for our children's choices and behaviors. We are instead responsible for ourselves and our actions. Hal teaches us to focus on ourselves and our behavior - something we can control. If we want a child to make good decisions, we have to model that behavior for them. How can we expect a child to remain calm when we fly off the handle and scream and yell at them when they choose not to cooperate? We can't be in control of the situation if we aren't in control of our own behavior and we can't possibly expect a child to calm down and get control of themselves if we're screaming like lunatics.
The concept is simple really. For example, when ABC was at my house filming, they asked me, "Do you fight with your kids to do their homework every night?"
I said, "Are you kidding? No way. That's their job. If they choose not to do it, then they're the ones who get in trouble at school. I have enough responsibilities than to take on their schoolwork as well."
They can choose to do their homework and reap the rewards at school, or they can choose to avoid their homework, and suffer the consequences of turning in an incomplete assignment. There is no reason for us to yell and scream and try to persuade our children to do their assignments. All that does is raise our blood pressure and make those little veins on the sides of our heads stick out. Besides, we can't remember our kids' names when we're mad and yelling and it's really hard to be in control when we have to spit out five names before we get to the right one!
Although the idea of having little robot children who obey our every command without a second thought is really, really appealing , it's actually not what we should strive for as parents. Hal uses the example of the movie Ella Enchanted his book. (If you haven't seen this movie, it's really cute and well worth renting, in my opinion.) In this movie, Ella is given the
Back to the homework example - I don't want my kids to do their homework because I've yelled at them to do it. I want them to choose to do their work because they know they'll get a good grade if they do and because they know they'll have to make up the assignment, or get an incomplete, or get a detention if they choose not to do it. Natural consequences.
I don't yell at my kids to eat dinner. They can choose eat what I've cooked or they can choose to not eat. If they choose not to eat dinner, they suffer the natural consequences of being hungry. No yelling. No fighting. They're responsible for their choice and they accept the consequences of their choice. Simple, right?
Well, in theory, it's simple. In reality it's hard. It's a simple concept that's difficult to master.
Like Hal warns parents against "emotional reactivity", author of 1-2-3 Magic, Dr. Thomas Phelan tells parents how to avoid the "Talk-Persuade-Argue-Yell-Hit Syndrome" by teaching them to not become involved in an emotional struggle with their kids. He goes on to say that parents make the mistake of talking too much and getting too emotionally involved. "Did you just hit your sister? Why did you hit your sister? You know you shouldn't hit your sister. Hitting's not nice. How would you like to be hit? You wouldn't like that. Hitting hurts. It's not nice. I can't believe you just hit your sister like that! Look at me when I'm talking to you! Do you think hitting is a good idea? Would you like it if I hit you?!........"
Anyway, my point is - you can't control kids and it's probably not a good idea to try. You can however, control yourself, teach your kids, and give them choices and consequences and that, in my opinion, is how you discipline.
Now, I know many of you probably won't agree with all this and that's fine. I'm not saying there is only one way to discipline your kids and this is it. Far from it. In fact, I think there are a lot of sound ways to approach discipline. I think a huge key to making anything work, however, is consistency. That and, of course, a sense of humor about the little things and maybe
Oh yeah, if you don't like my blog or you find it offensive, that's fine. You don't have to agree with me. But here's a tip for you - you don't actually have to read it and you certainly don't have to take the time to leave me a comment. It would be pretty silly to waste your time that way, don't you think? For those of you who actually do have a sense of humor however, read on!
Oh yes, for the folks who asked - nope, no one else is throwing up, thankfully! I, however, have a fever and feel like mud. I'm definitely going to bed before 4:00am tonight! (My baby thought it would be fun to stay up and party last night.)
Come check out MAMASLIKE for interesting finds from work-at-home moms!
P.S. I just heard from Mimi, Julian's mom, that cancer cells were found in her little boy's spinal fluid. :*( If you're the praying type, please say one for healing for Julian, peace and comfort for his family, and wisdom for the doctors treating him. You can read more at Carepages.com under "Julian's World".