How to Stop Sabotaging Yourself as a Parent.

I’ve learned this the hard way. This comes from personal experience. My hope is that I can help you avoid these parenting missteps. This blog will embody the “truth” part of I’m going to give it to you straight, so buckle up.

How many parents would like their children to listen better and to be more respectful? Yet, how many parents are aware that they might actually be shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to this? This is how you too could be sabotaging yourself:

  • Micromanaging: constantly warning, instructing, and correcting your child
  • Yelling: especially from across the room
  • Repeating requests: stating the same request over and over again
  • Negative (blaming) tone of voice: talking down to your child and/or lecturing
  • Droning on: too many instructions at one time
  • Being Rigid: demanding that your requests be completed at once

    The Fix

  • Micromanaging: the fix is to simply speak less. Choose your words wisely. Your words will be more valuable and hold more power this way. If you have anxiety, try to find some help in dealing with it.
  • Yelling: the fix is to get close, make eye contact, make it personal. Yelling at someone is disrespectful. If you model disrespect, you will get disrespect.
  • Repeating: the fix is to get your child’s attention. Speak once, speak clearly, and check for comprehension.
  • Negative tone of voice: the fix is to smile, speak nicely, model cooperative behavior. Again, what you model will come back to you.
  • Droning on: the fix is to be concise. Think about what you want to communicate before you try to communicate it.
  • Being Rigid: frankly, the fix is  to stop power tripping. We don’t talk like this to other people. Give your child a little choice and control. They will feel less of a need to assert themselves if choice is a part of their world. You will get more buy in and more cooperation at times when you need it.

There is one more thing and it is HUGE. The most important way we can sabotage ourselves is by not listening to our children when they want attention or when they want to speak. When you get down to their level, face to face, and listen to children intently, it models listening big time. What we model always comes back to us. Children are like a mirror.

The opposite is also true. If you are tuned out, aloof, or dismissive when your child tries to connect with you, what are you teaching? The mirror will show you.

When we let children know that we hear them and understand them, children will reward us with a level of trust that will strengthen the relationships immensely. It is that very trust that you will be able to call upon when you really need your child to listen to you. This is the way it works, during the early years, and beyond. Hear your kids, truly hear them, and they will hear you.

It would be too simple to say that in order for my child to listen to me, I need to listen to him. It’s not that it’s not true, it’s just too simple. But for those of you that want a concise take home message, that’s it. Treat your child with respect and dignity and they will learn to do the same.

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  1. I love this! This is advice that needs to be handed out with packages of diapers and cans of coffee. I’ve heard this advice before, but it’s so hard to put them into practice. Thanks for the reminder to stop reacting and to get back to proacting (uh, is that a word? You know what I mean).


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