Sunday, 17 June 2012
Loving Our Kids on Purpose- Step 2 .......
In my 'Fun or not fun!' post I shared with you Danny silks idea that
'Our goal as parents is to teach our children about and how to have healthy relationships and at the heart of these relationships is love. Love requires choices. So our children must be skilled in making choices and realising consequences of those choices.'
In order to achieve this he sets out a 3 step rule. In 'Fun or not fun' I discussed step 1. Today I will share with you my thoughts on step 2.
Step 2- Setting and enforcing healthy limits.
According to Danny, 'When we give our children choices we validate them by recognising that they need power in their relationship with us.' I have found, when working with many families, that problems often arise when there is a struggle for power between child and parents. I also think it is important to practise letting children make choices (such as what they have for a snack, clothes they wear etc) so when the arguments/power struggles start you are used to the dynamics of giving choices. Offering good choices creates a culture of empowerment in your home. It also helps sets rules and boundaries.
An example given in the book is ' Do you want to speak respectfully while you are upset or do you want to talk about it in an hour?'
I have found in order to develop the notion of allowing your child choices you must ensure you fully understand how 'choices' will work in your home. Danny Silk set out the following three principles.
1- It is important the choices you give your child are things you are happy with them doing. Giving an option we want them to do and an option we don't want (e.g the punishment option) gives chance for your child to feel powerful. 'Go ahead, ground me for a month! I'll make your life hell!'
2- You need to ensure your child understands the choices they are being given and the choice they make. For example when asking your child to clean their room, do they have the same 'picture' as you of a clean room? One way to do this is to ask questions along the way. 'What do you think about your bed? Is is messy or neat?'
3- Finally, you must enforce your choices with consequences. If you offer choices A and B and then they choose C, what will you do???
Here's where the power struggles and potential headaches start!! It can be so infuriating when your child actively deifies you!
So what to do?? Here's what Danny suggests, see what you think....
C is chosen. Best to make no fuss, appear to allow C to happen. But then a little later impose a sanction for C. Below is an example. (blue is parent)
'Clean your room or pay me to do it?'
'Hhmmm how much?'
'Hmm, I'll think about that price....' OR any further discussion/negotiation on price'
Go ahead and clean your child's room! Without comment/fuss or row. Then a little after cleaning, just as your child thinks 'great mum cleaned my room!' Request payment!
'I need my £50 I cleaned your room'
'Huh? I didn't ask you to clean my room? I can't/won't pay'
'Ok, I'm sure I can earn £50 for your Xbox on ebay!'
Here is the IMPORTANT thing- you must be 100% willing to go through with the sale or you're teaching your child not to believe a word you say! This is what some describe as tough love! But the reality of this is you are just teaching your child how the world works. For example, you get a job, hard earn pay check arrives, but you must pay tax! If you choose not to pay the tax you will have a consequence, a penalty to pay!
My conclusion of 'Step 2- Setting and enforcing healthy limits' is that we, as parents, must make sure 'love drives out fear'. We are taking a risk by allowing our children to experience some consequences. Some consequences are painful for us all! But being a parent is tough! We must show sadness and empathy towards their choices but we must strive not to give choices filled with anger and punishment. It is important that children take ownership for their problems and learn how to solve them. This is how the adult world works (most of the time!) and we are teaching them about this in the safety of our home.
Next Sunday will conclude our in depth look at 'Loving our kids on purpose' by looking at step 3- Protecting and building heart connections.....