Adapted from Love and Logic®
-Christy Prang is a Training Coordinator at CEDARS and a mom.
Often I hear stories from frustrated parents who’ve run out of parenting ideas. Rewards don’t work. Consequences don’t work. Bigger consequences don’t work.
Sadly, even the very best techniques fail when the relationship is broken. Loving relationships give consequences their power.
I don’t teach parents to get rid of consequences, nor to be punitive, but to set firm limits and give accountability from the context of loving and encouraging relationships. How do we maintain or rebuild those relationships?
1. Make every “hello” and “goodbye” a special event.
Show them that you’re glad to see them and how much you’ll miss them while you’re apart. First thing in the morning, before and after school, before bed. Make eye contact, smile and give a loving touch.
2. Notice something special about them. At least once a day.
Try saying it like this, “I noticed that you ______. I noticed that.” Simply fill in the blank with something special about your child. Resist the urge to end the statement with “That’s great.” The simple act of noticing without evaluation is powerful beyond comprehension.
3. Remove any hint of sarcasm.
Sarcasm erodes relationships. It’s just not worth it.
4. Love them even when they’re behaving not so loveable.
Love is a gift. Waiting for the recipient to deserve our love before providing it leads us to complete and utter defeat. Giving love, even when we don’t like their behavior ultimately leads to joy. One of the ways Love and Logic recommends doing this is to provide strong doses of empathy before providing discipline.
5. Neutralize Arguing.
Parents preoccupied by arguing don’t have time or energy to enjoy loving relationships with their children. Parents who yell, scream, or resort to punitive techniques don’t either. Read my earlier article on stopping arguments.