Although there are as many different ways to parent as there are families in this world, it does seem that parents tend to default to certain ways of handling their children’s bad behavior.
In an article on Romper.com, the author listed three parenting standbys for disciplining their children:
Parents who put their kids in timeout right away are the Steady Eddies of the parenting community. They understand the need to de-escalate an argument by each party stepping back and calming down.
For older kids, the time-out may look like no screen time or time alone in their room.
Time-outs definitely have their time and place. But I would add that often the time-out is sometimes for the parent as well as the child. Putting yourself into a time-out will give you time to calm down and think through how you should respond–instead of reacting in a way that hurts your child.
In your time-out, ask yourself this question: What does my child need to learn from this situation, and how can I best help them learn it?
Parents who choose this punishment are generally parents of slightly older kids who wouldn’t benefit as much from a timeout, and who don’t have the necessary patience to talk it out with their children. They like things to be simple and transactional.
If this strategy works for you, have at it. Just be sure that you’re not punishing yourself in the process — taking away your child’s phone and not being able to communicate with them or taking away their video or tv privileges when you need them to be occupied. This is a tough one for sports parents, especially. With kids staying after school for practices, it’s downright inconvenient for kids not to have their phones.
Parents who are able to talk through conflicts with their children have trained themselves to be able to step back from their own irritation while still maintaining active engagement in the experience. These parents are the ones you see taking their children aside, managing to speak quietly and calmly to a child mid-melt-down. Or they remove them from the situation entirely.
Kudos to the parents who can always remain calm when their child is not. I tried to be that mom, but definitely did not always succeed.
However, there were times when I was able to respond, rather than react, and in doing so, had rational and solution-seeking conversations with my child.
Which One is Your Default?
Do you see yourself in there?
No matter what your parenting strategy is, you will have days when it all goes out the window and you just plain lose it. You may yell or say something you regret. It happens to the best of parents.
The key is to give yourself grace, look at the situation and analyze how you could have handled it better, and resolve to learn from your mistake and move on. That’s what we tell our kids when they make mistakes, isn’t it?
If you are struggling with how you react to your kids’ bad behavior and would like to change your default, schedule a free call with me to see if a family coach can help you move forward.
Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.