A few days ago, I finished Rosemond's Parenting by the Book. I can honestly say, with no dramatic effect or hyperbole, this book has completely changed my mindset of how parenting should be. And in areas where I may not have created a mindset (e.g. parenting issues I haven't had to deal with yet), I realize I have a clear vision and understanding of how I should handle it when the situation arises.
I am so glad I read this book!
So, I'll close this subject with a reflection of one of the last points he makes in his book. And like all the points in the book, it's incredibly simple, concise, and compelling.
"You can give your kids a reason for "why," but do not reason with them."
Basically, use "reason" as a noun, NOT a verb. After reading the example in the book, I realized I've done this myself dozens of times already with Lucy.
Example: Lucy wants to do something that is not appropriate (for a variety of reasons). And instead of just telling her ,"No" and following it with a simple, concise explanation of why, I might have begun a dragged out, exasperated, speech sounding something like this: "Lucy, don't ask my why? Because we don't eat chocolate right before bed. The caffeine and sugar in it will likely make you hyper; plus, we just brushed your teeth, and I don't want to have you fight me on that again. Why can't you just do what I tell you to do?!? Stop whining about the chocolate! You're not going to get any more food tonight." yada yada yada.
And really, do I expect her to turn around and say, "Thank you mom for such a thorough explanation. Based on that sound reasoning, I no longer want any chocolate. Thank you so much." ????
Rhetorical questions, of course. But seriously, I must expect her to understand the reasoning I set forth, otherwise why in the world would I expend so much energy and time trying to explain myself?
But that's absolutely absurd! Think about it...do I really expect my not yet two year old to understand an explanation about why she can't do the thing she wants to do more than anything else in the world THAT VERY MOMENT!
Sheesh! If I had ever given my behavior much thought, I'm sure I would have realized how stupid I was being.
Now, I don't think I go about my parenting decisions and actions without much thought. Quite the opposite my mom and dad will tell you, for they're always jesting about how many parenting books I like to read and how I unnecessarily obsess about things being just right and just so. They took a much more laid back approach to parenting, and they'd tell me to just put the books down! :-)
But, there are some ways I parent that I guess I just didn't think about ahead of time, and I just let my natural reaction be the way that it happens. And when Lucy whines, there's a switch in me that just flips, and I loose all ability to think reasonably and rationally! ;-) I HATE whining!
But Rosemond explains the only REASON(s) you need to give your children should be the following:
1. You're not old enough.
2. You might get hurt.
3. We don't have the money (or will not use it that way)
4. We don't have the time (or won't make the time).
5. We don't believe in that
6. We don't like those kids.
He continues, "And when you have given your chosen reason in five words or less, and your child stomps his foot and yells out that he doesn't agree with your reason, thinks it's dumb, or wants to tell you why you should change your mind, simply look at him with great compassion and say, 'If I was your age, I wouldn't like that decision either.'"
"Then turn around and walk away, leaving your child to - I'm going to steal one of Grandma's favorite lines - 'stew in his own juices.'"
I love it! So simple, and effective. I've begun using this technique, and the few times I had to, it's been incredibly effective! Lucy's quickly learning that there's no arguing. It reminds me of the bible verse about letting your "yes" be your "yes," and your "no" be your "no." Whether dealing with adults or children, it's perfectly perfect!
And with that, I'll bid you a clear and concise "Good Night!" ;-)