So many people ask me for useful tips, or the surefire way to deal with certain recurring situations with their children. My answer is usually not quite what they hoped for, but often more useful than rules or formulas. When we apply rules, we will for sure have to break them sooner or later. Rules are super useful and necessary to give our family life structure. But one rule may work for one child and not for another. Or it may work for one family and not the other. Or for one phase of life, and not for the next.
So when I’m asked such an open question as, “Do you have any tips for me?”, I won’t assume right off the bat that I can know which rule or formula will work for this person and his/her family. But I will suggest these following inner attitudes to aim for:
-Before passing any judgement or reaction to your child’s behaviour, take a breath. Or two. Give yourself the space to see if you are being reactionary and emotional, and whether with a moment’s reflection you can understand what is going on better,or change your tactic if this one is repeatedly not working.
-Remember you are the parent. And you chose to be.
-Don’t say anything you aren’t truly prepared to follow through on. How can anyone take us seriously if we aren’t following through?
-Don’t ask any question you aren’t prepared to hear an honest (and perhaps unexpected) answer to. You cannot enter into a dialogue with your child with a pre-prepared script.
By working with these simple but challenging inner stances, you will be building confidence between yourself and your child, and you may find your own custom solution to your specific situation that suits yourself and your family just perfectly.
It’s worth a try!