Parenting Plateau? 6 Ways that Parenting is like Dieting and Nutrition

What’s the Connection?

Parenting is difficult. Changing the way you parent may be even more difficult. While knowing what and where to change as a parent can be confusing, the steps to developing a better relationship with your child may be more familiar to you than you thought.

Statistics show that nearly everyone has made intentional changes in their eating habits at some point in their life. Many diet several times. And some say that at any given time, approximately 50% of all women are dieting. So we are definitely familiar with the idea of improving eating and exercise habits, but improving parenting habits remains terrifying for many.

Although there may be many more, I have outlined some ways that making such decisions can be identical to being a great parent. I hope that this will un-complicate the parenting process for you, and encourage you to pick one area that you can improve upon – with the goal of making your relationship with your child that much stronger.

  1. Motivation
    • Whether we’re striving to eat healthy or be a good parent, we have to have a purpose. Love for your child is going to be the epicenter of your motivation to parent well, however, there may be several motivations branching off from that – depending on you. For example, perhaps you had specific childhood experiences that you don’t want to be repeated for your own son or daughter. What can be your motivation to be all you can be as a parent?
  2. The Decision
    • Deciding may very well be the most important step. Deciding involves an element of one thing – that if you do it, the outcome is always good. I think for most parents, it is staying calm when your child is misbehaving. Something I share in my classes is “when you child escalates, you deescalate. They scream, you whisper. I encourage you to Decide on one thing you can change at a time. This will help you from getting distracted and lost. You will not be able to be perfect at everything, but perhaps you can set a goal of mastering one and go from there.
    • Like accomplishing a weight-loss or other health related goal, the journey of being a good parent to your child is an intentional one. Without an initial decision to make specific changes in your parenting habits, the impact will most likely be minimal, nonexistent, or quickly reversed.
  3. A Plan
    • Without having some sort of guide, list, or curriculum, making healthy strides in the condition of your body is going to be difficult. For example, a magazine or website may have a running or dieting schedule. Even an article in the news explaining some basic points can give you some ideas of what changes may be necessary. Likewise, a simple statement of “I am going to be a better parent” may not be enough. The “how” soon becomes a big question. Love and Logic® is great for this part. I recommend Love and Logic® not only because I am trained and experienced in it, but because I have watched the tools completely transform parents’ relationships with their kids time and time again.
  4. Exercise
    • I have personally experienced that dieting without exercise is not effective, at least not for long. A parent can read day in and day out about how to be a better parent, but without acting on that knowledge, no impact is possible. Also, parents need to be able to endure the strenuous times, like being willing to say “Yes”, “No”, or give Grace and Empathy even when it may be painful or exhausting to do so. We as parents can’t be afraid to get our hands dirty, or break a sweat.
  5. Consistency
    • Regardless of the purpose or method of a dieting or nutritional plan, without making it a lifestyle, the truth is that most people will gain much of the lost weight (if not all of it) right back. Parenting without follow through is very similar. Consequences are a good example of this, as they must be set – then stuck with. Also, any parenting “upgrades” that you might be undertaking need to be for the long haul. In parenting, progress with your relationship with your child can be quickly lost.
  6. Community
    • Just as many choose Weight Watchers, CrossFit or other programs to gain disciplines, accountability, and knowledge in order to meet their goals – parents can be active in groups to share experiences and support. This could be in the form of in-person discussions with friends, blogs, Forums, Facebook groups, or even Twitter feeds.

So What?

Out of these 6 items, what is your one thing you could focus on to improve your parenting – your one thing that you can commit to and stop old patterns? Again, you will never do everything perfectly, but I bet you can do one thing really well.

I hope that these connections have helped you understand how making changes in your parenting style doesn’t have to be an earth shattering occurrence, but instead, are just as simple as many decisions we make everyday.

Simple Guidelines for Developing Your Child Into a Wise Adult

A Common Parenting Problem

I recently read a chapter from Pete Rollin’s book “The Orthodox Heretic and Other Impossible Tales” It is a parable book that really stretches your thinking.

The parable called “The Father’s Approval” outlines a father who lives much of his life in search of wealth and success, struggling to spend needed time with his son. After his son is grown, he too focuses on wealth and professional success. But the father who has walked that path with regret, tries to tell the son to NOT follow in his footsteps. The son then pushes away and feels a great sense of disapproval from his father.

Their relationship is shallow.

Relationship First, Set Expectations Aside

One day, the father is praying for his son to stop making the mistakes he modeled for him in the first place. He is struggling because he KNOWS what is best for him. In fact, the father can’t understand why his son will not listen to him. Just at his highest level of frustration the father hears a voice saying “Caleb is also my son and I love him the way he is.” As the father focuses on loving his son, the frustration and unspoken judgment disappears and over time the son aligns with his father again.

So What?

The parable reminded me of how we need to love our children just the way they are, without allowing our expectations to override our relationship. Here is a guideline Love and Logic® gives us to help put relationship first:

LOVE

It takes a great deal of love to…

  • Find the positives in our kids when they act poorly
  • Hug them before we ask them about their homework
  • Set limits without anger, lectures, or threats
  • Hold them accountable for their poor decisions by providing EMPATHY 1st, and CONSEQUENCES 2nd

How to React to Your Child

LOGIC

When we give this special kind of love, a wise type of logic grows in the child’s mind:

“When I make poor decisions, it makes my life pretty sad. I wonder how my next decision will affect my life?”

Video Showing PRIDE Parenting Skills in Action Through PCIT

I wrote a similar article on PRIDE skills a while back; this time I would like for you to see the outline along with a video of PRIDE skills (or PCIT) in action! The video that I have embedded below was taken in the PCIT lab at Encompass in North Bend, WA.

PRIDE Parenting Skills in a Nutshell

PRIDE skills open up doors to increase relationship and control when you interact with your child on a daily basis – allowing for an opportunity to really connect on a deeper level. These PRIDE skills are a component of Parent–Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) which is a form of therapy developed by Sheila Eyberg for children ages 2–7 and their parents or caregivers.

P.R.I.D.E. is an acronym that stands for:

  • Praise
  • Reflect
  • Imitate
  • Describe
  • Enthusiasm

All of us need emotional connection and control (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). So the PRIDE skills give an intense dose to both of these needs.

How PRIDE Skills (Special Play Time) Can Be An Excellent Addition To Love and Logic® Tools.

In my practice as a parent educator and coach, I teach Love and Logic® skills. These tools work really well! But using PRIDE skills once a day for 5 minutes delivers even more choices and empathy benefits.

Here is a PRIDE parenting skills handout that outlines how to engage with PRIDE skills during play time. Be aware that the time stated on the handout (10-15 minutes per day) has changed. Research indicates that PRIDE play, done for just 5 minutes per day is enough to fill a child emotionally and also do-able for parents.

First, watch the video below, then follow the instructions.

PRIDE skills:Here is how you use the

  1. Set up a play table.
  2. Tell the child that this is “our special play time” and he/she may play with any of the toys on the table.
  3. Next, apply the PRIDE skills to the play time.
  4. When 5 minutes (or more if you want, but remember 5 minutes is enough) is over, tell your child that “special playtime is over, but you will play again tomorrow.” Then give a choice of how many toys to pick up. Be sure to not get into a power struggle over clean up.
  5. The Don’ts are:
    • No Questions
    • No Commands
    • No Criticism.

Be Careful – questions and commands put you as dominate this is a time that the child leads the play.

Here is a video outlining how to do Special Play Time with your child. As you watch the video, listen for the tools that are outlined above. It will help you do your special playtime. Don’t focus so much on exactly how the coach is coaching. It is just for an example of how the skills are used in a training lab.

Special Play Time is a great way to connect with your child!

If you have a child over the age of 7 years, the PRIDE skills can also be used in normal interaction.

Use Chores to Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem at Any Age

We ALL want our children to have high self-esteem. To develop a high self-esteem a person needs purpose. A key component to high self-esteem is built on how you view yourself in terms of contribution. In other words, in the child development process, chores are a big role in a kid’s self-esteem. Our kids get a lot of messages that TELL them they are great. But because we always learn through experience, we need to help our kids experience contribution (chores). Dr. Diana Baumrind contributed to the world of psychology by defining the types of parents: Permissive, Authoritarian, and Authoritative.

The authoritative parent is one who shares control but sets firm boundaries to help the child develop standards of conduct.

Here is a link to a great outline of Baumrind’s work.

You will notice that when Baumrind is outlining the benefits of an Authoritative Parent, she talks about self-esteem:

“Authoritative parents make demands that fit with children’s ability to take responsibility for their own behavior. Children subsequently learn that they are competent individuals who can do things successfully for themselves. This fosters high self-esteem, cognitive development, and emotional maturity.”

Baumrind’s work points out the importance of giving chores but also the demands by the parent. As parents, you need to demand or require the chores to be done. How you “demand” matters. Love and Logic® teaches that remaining calm and setting consequences around the compliance to your demand is key.

How do we set up a successful experience for our children to do chores?

Many parents are searching for Chore Charts on the web – but a chore chart will not somehow miraculously transform your child. Raising kids that are responsible to contributing around the house, and in life – goes deeper. Dr. Foster Cline shares in the CD “Allowing Kids to Choose Success” (check your local library system) there are three child development stages regarding chores for children:

2-6 years old:

The child has you, the chore and fun. In this stage it is important that the child experiences fun with you while they are doing the chore. This modeling will help the child learn the skill and plant deep inside them the joy of completing a task.

6-15 years:

The child has the chore and fun. Fun comes from the experience you provided in the early years. If you have done a good job with modeling and fun, your child will not push back too hard in doing their chores.

15 –adulthood:

If the child is responsible in their life, like good grades, part-time job or volunteering and respectful to you. You lessen chores. Because chores are to teach responsibility and develop a high self-esteem, basically they reached the goal!

A few “What ifs”:

  • What if I missed the first stage of development (2-6 years) with chores?

Then just back track for a few months. Go back to the first stage. The child has you, the chore and fun. When your child begins to do the chores more independently, then move on to the next stage.

  • What if my child hits a stage that he/she pushes back on doing the chores even if I did the first stage really well?

All kids will push back at times. This is the time for calm, predictable consequences. Enforceable Statements are key to maintaining control, for example; “I am happy to drive you to your friends when your chores are done.” Energy Drain and Strategic Training sessions are also great. Attached you will find resources from Love and Logic.

  • What if they do not the do the chore as well as I can?

Lighten up! The key to chores is not for you to get a job done. We all know we can do it better than the child. As long as the child has given their best effort, it is good. The important part is that the child feels a sense of contribution and purpose. Remember, you get the chore back later in life.

Chores are a key part of a child developing a high self-esteem.

So, what chores are a head of your child today?

You might also be interested in Getting Kids to Do Chores

5 Sibling Rivalry Parenting Tips That Will Make You a Pro

This is a question that comes up regularly when I teach a Parenting with Love and Logic® class series. This may surprise you, but from all my research and experience, the key to decreasing sibling rivalry is to not get in the middle of it – which is easier said than done. If you are like me, when your children fight, verbally or otherwise, it frustrates you and dare I say – it hurts. It hurts to see my children not cherish one another because I know over time they will need one another in their life.

Late last year, I posted a Love and Logicism about sibling rivalry; “There is no case of sibling rivalry that can’t be made worse by a strong dose of parental frustration, anger or worry.” When I read the sentence, I was so convicted because our family had been going through a difficult time around sibling rivalry. Even though our kids are grown, they were working out new adult relationships with one another and unfortunately I was in the middle of it. Needless to say, I was making the issues so much greater, and lasting longer by being involved.

After God hit me over the head with the Love and Logicism, I stepped back from the issues between my children. I went back to the basics of parenting and controlled what I really can control and that is myself. I told my adult children what I was going to do for the holidays and invited them all to join me as long as they could be kind and respectful to everyone. I listened to needs and again responded with what I was willing to provide. To my great joy, over a few short months the issues between my adult children have faded and we even enjoyed a light-hearted birthday dinner out this week. I truly believe that my involvement was what was fueling the rivalry.

I encourage all of you, no matter how old your children are, to stay out of the issues. Here are some tips from Love and Logic®:

Handling Sibling Rivalry:

  • Stay out of the problem whenever possible. Avoid teaching your children that fighting with each other is a good way to get your attention.
  • Say to them, “It looks like you guys have a problem that you need to solve. I’ll be happy to give you some suggestions about solving this problem when both of you are calm.
  • Separate them if necessary.
  • If your kids continue to hassle your eyes and ears with fighting, say, “I’m going to have to do something about this. We’ll talk when everyone is calm.”
  • Expect them to replace the energy they drained out of you by doing extra chores, hiring a babysitter so that you can go out and relax, staying home instead of being driven to their friend’s houses, etc.

Also, this is a great CD resource from Love and Logic.