How To Keep Your Parenting Cool – Part 2by Dr Emma Gray - 5th March, 2015
In the first part of this blog we looked at how the biggest influence on a child’s personality is the explicit and implicit lesson they are taught by their parents, along with some initial thoughts on how to ensure these lessons are, for the most part, good ones. In the second part of this blog we will explore some further tips developed by the Clinical Psychologist and Counselling Psychologist at The British CBT & Counselling Service.
2. Work out alternatives in advance
Few people think well on their feet, even fewer when they are faced with a screaming toddler, defiant pre-schooler or surly adolescent. Strong emotions always make it harder to see all the options so prepare some in advance.
As a general rule the best approach to parenting is to ignore the bad (as much as it is safe to) and celebrate the good. So if your child is ‘melting down’ tell them that you will speak to them once they are feeling calmer and depending on their age and ability to calm themselves, either help them to do this or give them some space to do it independently.
Try not to add fuel to the fire with your own anger, anxiety or self- doubt, step back, use the time to try and work out what is going on for both you and your child. Then based on this understanding, make a plan of action.
Time out works for some people, but if involves more than a minimal amount of interaction with you child (e.g. having to pick them up or shout at them to get them to the ‘naughty step’) it is better, if it is safe to do so, to leave the room yourself, remember, any attention is reinforcing their behaviour, good and bad.
Reward charts are a good alternative. They give children a reason to engage in a particular behaviour and offer a simple and straightforward way of encouraging the ‘good’. Put them in a prominent place and make a big deal when a star or prize is earned. Rewards for younger children should be given immediately so the association between the desired behaviour and the prize is strong and they should be reasonably easy to earn to keep the child’s interest.
Click below to navigate to the first and third part of this multi part article, Part 3 of this blog will address some further ideas on how to maximise your chances of keeping your parenting cool.