Parenting with Calm Authority
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Tips for Repatterning Communication Patterns with your Children
Copyright, Neva J. Howell
This short list of tips came out of a visit with a mother who was struggling to create more positive interactions with her children and to establish healthy boundaries as the parent. By no means, does this brief list cover what we went through in the week I was with this family. Nor is it meant to be proffered as a simple solution to a complex communication situation. However, it may be helpful in beginning to create healthier patterns of resolving conflict in the family.
1. Most important is releasing daily and negative old baggage of how they were yesterday. Wake up willing to let them show up an entirely new way for you. Resist expecting them to act the way they always have and send for the potential for them to show up an entirely new way each day.
2. When conflict arises, take a breath, listen and determine what is going on. Reprogram the urge to rush in and stop the yelling, long enough to get a handle on what the communication misfire is really about.
3. Remove the source of the conflict if a thing, like the tv or video games, is involved instead of attempting to reason over the sound of it. Turn the tv off or disconnect the video until you have their attention. Once they realize that conflict means losing the thing they are fighting over, they will pay attention more quickly to avoid removal of the thing.
4. Disengage from drama and state the authoritative decision on the matter, without threatening penalty or punishment. Try using the word “consequence” rather than penalty or punishment, should it become necessary to enforce a boundary that way.
5. Speak in terms of what they can do, not what they can’t do. Remove the word “don’t” from your vocabulary with them. Instead of “Don’t yell at your brother” say something like “Speak in a lower tone, please. Thank you.”
6. Find more ways to say thank you. If you say thank you, mean it.
7. Listen to explanations once and let them know you heard them. After that, allow continued attempts to explain and just do not engage or argue with what is repeatedly said. They will continue to hook you into an argument or distract from the decision.In an even and loving voice voice, keep reinstating the decision from a place of calm authority, letting them know the consequence that is coming if they do not comply.
8. At whatever point you feel it is necessary, apply consequence of your choice.