Six (or so) Easy Steps to Taming Your Feral Child
In doing some research for my blog and it’s new direction, I came across a whole bunch of blogs written by Moms. However, most blogs are written by happy stay-at-hom moms with small children and talk about crafts and their latest trip to Disney and poopy diapers. That ain’t me. I’m past that phase. I’m worrying about my kids applying to colleges and staying away from kids who steal their parent’s liquor at the moment.
Oh, I know how that world is, I was there once, sans the Disney trips. You think you’re the first one to ever have cute little kids and enjoy being a happy family, and you think we are all eager to hear about your kids… endlessly. Oh, no offense to those moms, I’ve just been there, you want to share your joy. But I just wanted to say that sometimes in reading about all the cutsie wootsie stories you tell of all the adorable things that little McKenzie did… I think, I would have booted the kid across the room.
And then the mommies even make jokes about being at their wits end with said adorable child. Oh honey, I feel like that everyday, but it’s not from having annoying kids it’s from having busy kids. Oh my children aren’t perfect, I just figured out how to nip bad behavior in the bud. I’ll still get cranky kid attitude steered my way once in a while, but I don’t get disrespect. Want to know how?
Well, buy my book!
No, just kidding. That’s how the pitch usually goes… brings you right to the brink, and then chops you off at the knees, just like a girl in a short skirt.
Well, I’ll tell you how, because I’m nice like that. (donations accepted, though) Parents… stay in control. Ain’t no child ever paid attention to or respected a screaming, cussing parent. Did you when you were a kid? When my Mother went off, I just thought she was crazy, and as I got older… embarrassing. But when she just stopped and looked me in the eye, oh I had the fear of God in me. Oh and the worst was when she was just quiet and told me I had dissappointed her. OH! Stab stab stab in the heart!
Easy Steps for when your child talks back or has a tantrum:
1. Physically get down to eye to eye level with them.
2. Talk to them calmly, yet firmly, maintain direct eye contact. (you can’t sound like Mr. Rogers, you must be firm) If they look away, say “you need to look at me”.
3. State with authority that that behavior is not acceptable and we do not do that in this house.
4. Ask them if they heard you and to repeat it.
5. Tell them when they can act in a civil manner, you will discuss it or continue whatever.
6. Stand up and continue what you were doing. (unless there’s blood to clean up or something)
If a problem is more involved you may need to discuss it with them. For instance, “Would you like it if I threw a Matchbox Car at you?” Or “Why would you deliberately take the paints out after I told you no?”. Sometimes “No, because I said so” isn’t the best answer. Kids need to learn logic and reason. Explain to them “We don’t have enough time to paint, becuase we are having guests for dinner and I need the table”.
Adults, do you feel better after someone explains why they said no, rather than just saying no? I rest my case. “Can I have a raise?” “No.” My first thought is “I suck”. But after they tell me they lost money in the 4th Q and just can’t, then I accept it.
I won’t lie, it takes a great deal of patience on the parent’s part. Oh and , some kids may still flip out, it’s not a cure all. But if you remain calm and CONSISTENT, I can almost guarantee you’ll see the behavior improve over time. It needs to start as soon as they start talking though. Just laughing off that behavior because they are “little” only creates monsters. (Have we not all learned anything from Toddlers and Tiaras?) It’s never too early to start expecting respectable behavior from a child. Most important thing is, don’t stoop to their level! Yea, I know we all have our limits, but even if you do have a flip out, apologize to the child and use it as a lesson that we all get stressed out, you know how the child feels. Keep the faith and have a cocktail after they go to bed.