Begging children to behave

I was shopping at Trader Joes when I overheard a mom struggling with her young daughter who was sitting in the front of their shopping cart. Mom was agreeing “OK, I’ll give you one money.” The daughter whined “Nooooo, I want TWO monies!” Mom fished around her purse and handed her a couple coins. The daughter then yelled “That’s not enough!” and began crying.

Mom begged her to please stop crying because she really needed to get this shopping done before they could go home. Mom was exasperated as her daughter continued to cry.

If you find yourself begging your kids to behave, it’s time to find some better parenting approaches! Learn some effective ways to set limits with your children while building loving relationships by taking the Priceless Parenting online parenting class.

Wisdom for handling challenging teen behavior

Teens provide parents many opportunities to grow their parenting skills! One of the most insightful and helpful books I've read for dealing with challenging teen behavior is Yes, Your Teen is Crazy! by Michael Bradley.

Bradley, a psychologist, provides practical parenting advice for dealing with difficult teen behaviors like drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, casual sex, rage and violence and skipping school. His writing is humorous while directly addressing difficult topics. He uses real life stories to contrast normal teenage behavior with behavior that requires parents seek professional help immediately.

All children's brains go through enormous changes during adolescence. Sometimes these changes combined with other stresses can lead to some crazy behavior. Bradley provides sound advice for parenting teens.

How much media is too much?

When parents discuss how much media they allow their children, the answers vary wildly. Some parents have very strict time restrictions on their children's media viewing while others give their children more control over the time they spend on media.

How do you know when your child is getting too much media?

One mom knew she needed to allow less video game time when her 7-year-old son started not wanting play outside or do things with the family preferring his video game instead. He was so attached to playing his video game that he often pitched a fit when he was told the game had to go off. His games didn't have a good way to save the game for later so he was reluctant to stop playing and lose his place in the game.

She decided to reduce his video game playing to one hour twice a week. She started giving him a 10 minute warning before his hour was up. When the 10 minutes were up, he could either choose to shut the game off or she would turn the power off. It only took a couple times of turning the power off to get him to shut the game down in time.

What are signs that digital usage is becoming a problem?

(read the rest of the article at Priceless Parenting)

Parenting discussion on talk radio

This week's "A Life on Fire" radio show discussed parenting through difficult times. We used the book Willow, a story of a teen who turns to cutting to deal with emotional pain, to begin the discussion. We branched into a number of other parenting topics. You can listen to it here (the parenting discussion starts about 9 minutes into the show recorded on June 17, 2009):

I had fun working with the show's hosts Elise Kloter and Jill Pagano. I hope you'll have a chance to listen to it!

Warning signs for parents

Parenting would be easier if there were warning signs along the way similar to the warning signs along a road. All parents want to know when sharp curves are approaching, where to tread lightly because of thin ice and exactly where the dangerous drop-offs are located!

By understanding the potential problem areas, you are more likely to able to steer clear of them. For example, knowing that two and three-year-olds will have tantrums can make handling these inevitable meltdowns easier by allowing you to plan your response. Likewise, knowing that multi-player internet games are highly addictive can help you decide whether or not those games are something you will allow your children to play.

Taking a parenting class is one way to learn what to expect along the bumpy road of raising children. The Priceless Parenting online parenting class is available wherever you are located and is designed to help you avoid parenting pitfalls!

Books leading to deep discussions

Reading books together with your children can launch some wonderful discussions that would otherwise probably not happen. I recently read the book Willow by Julia Hoban. The book is about a 16-year-old girl who is driving her parents home when they get into an accident in which both parents are killed. The story describes her struggle to deal with the aftermath of this tragedy and how she turns to cutting herself as a way to deal with the pain.

It is a griping book that deals with a tough subject in a way that provides insight on some of life’s big issues. Reading this book with your teen could lead to discussing things like:

  • Problems caused when serious feelings are held inside instead of expressed
  • Difficulties talking to someone about the death of someone they love
  • Skills involved in being able to listen compassionately
  • How people ignore “the elephant in the room” to avoid raising difficult issues
  • Importance of having true friends especially in challenging times

Teens are often ready and willing to tackle some of these complex issues and a book like Willow can open the door to some wonderful discussions.

Because I said so!

Lucy was vividly recalling a turning point in her relationship with her mom over 50 years ago. She was graduating from 9th grade and told her mother that after the graduation ceremony she was going to spend the afternoon at a lake with some of her girlfriends. One of the other mothers was driving them to the lake and bringing lunch. Her mom replied “You’re not going.” When Lucy asked her mom why she couldn’t go, her response was “Because I said so”.

Lucy was enraged with her mother’s explanation. She angrily told her mother that she planned to go to the lake with her friends despite the fact her mother told her she couldn’t go. When her mother asked for an explanation, Lucy replied “Because I said so”. Lucy did go to the lake with her friends that day. Her relationship with her mother remained cool and unaffectionate throughout the rest of her teenage years.

When parents declare to their children something will or will not happen “because I said so”, they are trying to use their authority to end the discussion. A better approach is to carefully listen to a child’s request and ask questions to address any concerns you have before deciding. Providing respectful, thoughtful explanations for your decisions will help maintain good relationships with your children even if the decision isn’t the one they wanted.

Delaying parenting decisions

When our kids make a request and we feel pressured to make an immediate decision, we may rush into a decision that we later regret. This happened to one mom when her 15-year-old son asked if he could go to a sleepover at a friend’s house. She was heading out the door for work so she quickly asked him if the parents were going to be home and if girls would also be there. He told her that the parents would be home and that there would be girls at the sleepover. He assured her that the other parents were ok with it.

In her rush to get to work, she told him he could go. Later on she realized she was completely uncomfortable with allowing her son to go to this sleepover. She called her son to let him know she had changed her mind. As she expected, he was quite upset.

She regretted she had made such a quick decision. In the future she says she will give herself more time to think it through by letting her son know that she’ll get back to him with an answer.

Parents do themselves a big favor by taking time to think through their decisions before reacting.

Allowing kids to make mistakes

A dad told the story of how he was shopping with his 6-year-old son and his son decided he really wanted to buy a toy car with his allowance money. The car he wanted was flimsy and the dad was fairly sure that it wouldn’t last long before it broke. The dad mentioned his concerns to his son but still allowed his son to make his own choice on whether or not to buy it.

Well his son bought the car. Within a week of having it, the front wheels broke off. Instead of saying “I told you so”, the dad helped his son glue it back together. Although it wasn’t quite as good as before, the son thanked his dad for helping him fix it. This boy’s respect for his dad grew that day along with some wisdom about buying cheap toys.

Confronting teens on tough issues

How you handle confronting difficult situations with your teen greatly influences your teen’s response. Nancy, a mom with teens of her own, told me her story of getting caught with cigarettes when she was 14-years-old. She grew up as the oldest of three siblings in a family where one of their values was no smoking.

However, Nancy had started smoking. Her mom found out when she took wet clothes out of her daughter’s swimming bag in order to wash them and found a packet of cigarettes. To this day she is amazed at how well her mom handled the situation. Instead of yelling, she explained she had found the cigarettes and requested that if Nancy was going to smoke that she do it outside the house and not in front of her younger brother and sister.

Nancy felt horrible about having disappointed her mom. She’s sure that if her mom would have yelled at her and told her to stop smoking, she would have continued smoking just to be defiant. Because of how her mom handled the situation, she said she felt very guilty and chose never to smoke again.

When we remain calm when confronting our teens, we have a much better chance of positively influencing their behavior. By keeping our composure, our teens are faced with reflecting on their behavior instead of focusing on our anger.

Fostering Growth using the Mentoring Parenting Style

What is your normal parenting style?  Do you give your kids orders?  Do you do a lot of things for them that they are capable of doing thems...