Part Two: Building Blocks of Parenting
When you’re frustrated with parenting, here are some things you can do to help sort through the advice and information you’ve heard or read. Sometimes we’re not sure about discipline and consequences. Sometimes we think the method we’ve chosen isn’t working. Sometimes we wonder if there’s a better way or a consequence that will get our kids’ attention more quickly. When you’re in that boat, here are a few Oars to help you paddle the rough waters of parenting.
Try these building blocks for Parenting.
When you use them correctly and consistently, you’ll find that parenting can be fun even when it’s hard work.
Ask yourself if this is a hill worth dying on. If it is, then do battle until you’ve won. If it’s not, then call a truce. Maybe you’ll need to admit to your child that this isn’t working and you’ll come up with another plan. Sometimes calling a time-out until you can figure out what to do will provide grace and save face (for both of you). A few times I gave grace and we started over with a clean slate. I used that opportunity to explain what grace is. Obviously, my child learned what grace felt like because he was experiencing it right then! Claiming the hills you’ll die on helps keep you focused in the right direction. Giving in when it’s not an I’ll die on this hill makes life easier. Plus, it’s a win-win for everyone.
Be sure to make the punishment fit the crime. Before dealing threats and consequences, figure out a consequence that fits the crime. Match ‘em up. I surely failed at this those first years! If your child keeps turning on DVDs without permission, time-out or a spanking won’t send the message like turning the DVD off for a day. Of course, it’s easier to put a kid in time out than listen to her complain all day. She shouldn’t complain, but you can nix that complaining by adding a day onto the consequence. You can be sure the next time she thinks about putting in a DVD without permission, she’ll remember what happened the last time. It’s true that sometimes a child will repeat the infraction just to see if you remember or if you will really follow through. Don’t disappoint him. Remember: you’re the parent.
Comradery and Communication goes a long way. Working alongside a child when he’s young is better than sending him to do a job by himself i.e. raking leaves, dusting and vacuuming a room, washing dishes after a meal. It gives time for chatting and communication. You get the job done together and you connect with your child. It’s a time when being your child’s friend is a positive thing. Hanging up clothes on the clothes line was one of my favorite ways to nab a kid for some one-on-one time. Working side-by-side brought secrets to light better than trying to get a child to tell me over a glass of iced tea what was troubling him. Together, we sorted life’s problems, one load at a time. Plus, working alongside your child gives you an opportunity to model cheerfulness in a daunting task as well as showing him how to get a job done so that it’s done well. This is one time when “show, don’t tell” is important.
One block, one level at a time, and the task won’t seem so hard.
Sometimes we need to go back and start over at ground level. Each block, each principle used successfully is a guarantee to make good parenting possible – and rewarding as well.
You can do this. After all, you’re the parent!