Have you ever thought, “I wish parenting would come with a manual, oh and by the way, could that manual please be individualized for each child that I have”? If you have children, you may have wished for this a time or two! Parenting is the most rewarding job you will ever have, but at times, it is also the most difficult. Hello, my name is Pamela Becker and I have been providing parenting skills and family therapy for nearly 10 years. I am a registered play therapist, trained Love and Logic facilitator and trained in Circle of Security. When I work with families’ I focus on attachment and finding enjoyment with your family. Today, I will share with you, tips and techniques that will help you feel more confident in your parenting as well as teach your children how to make healthy choices, use problem solving and take responsibility for their choices. These concepts are taken from Love and Logic. As a parent, you of course, are the expert on your child, so please adapt these concepts to meet the needs of you and your child. I would love to assist you and your family with learning some fun and effective parenting strategies.
As we all know raising children to be young healthy adults is not easy. Part of my work as a family therapist is to help parents and their children learn how to make healthy choices from a young age. One way of doing this is by giving your child choices at an early age (the founders of Love and Logic have used their techniques with infants). Here are some quick and easy to use examples of choices: “would you like milk or water”, “would you like to be carried or hold my hand” “would you like to wear or carry your jacket”. When children learn they have choices, this crosses over to other aspects of their life. If children have every decision made for them, they are more at risk to fall into peer pressure because they have not learned to make their own choices and are used to others making decisions for them. A few things to consider when giving choices: 1) The choices always have to work for you (parent) 2. Do not give too many choices (2-3) 3. If the child does not decide, make the decision for them. They will quickly learn to decide.
Along with teaching kids how to make healthy choices, we want to raise children who know how to use healthy problem-solving skills and be responsible for the choices they make. This can be done while getting your child to do what is expected and deal with natural consequences all without telling your child ‘no’. This takes the nagging out of parenting. For example, if your child wants to watch TV before homework, you can simply say “feel free to watch TV as soon as your homework is done” or “Mom/dad helps with homework from 5-6pm, let me know if you need any help” (this one helps set limits/boundaries). Another example is when your child asks to have a friend over, you could respond with “Kids who have clean rooms get to have friends over”. A third example of this technique can be used if you are having a difficult time getting your child to take care of their toys, you could say, “feel free to keep anything that is put away where it belongs” (yes this means throwing things or keeping them until they demonstrate more respect for item). These are easy to remember lines and become second nature after practice. So what happens when they argue with you? “Love you too much to argue” or “Nice try” (this is a broken record effect repeat and repeat) and then go on with what you were doing. This also decreases you having to feel angry with your child. When we get angry and give a punishment, kids miss the reason they are being punished and focus on your anger. So take a few breaths and take a break when angry. Its ok! Parenting is stressful and can be frustrating. Practicing these skills will help you set limits and teach you and your child healthy self-care skills.
The importance of choices in young childhood could potentially impact adults when in relationships. They will know that they have the right to make good decisions for themselves. They will also have a better problem-solving skills and boundaries. The decision making skills you teach them at a young age will help them become the young adults you dreamt them becoming when you first held them in your arms, even if they didn’t come with that parenting manual 😊
If you are interested in learning more about Love and Logic or other parenting strategies please contact me. I offer individual, family and group therapy sessions that support families and their happiness.
Pamela Becker, MA, LMFT, RPT