You know, over the years I have had the opportunity to speak to many parent groups and organizations. I am most frequently sought out to discuss discipline techniques. I am always thrilled to share tips and strategies with parents to help them feel more confident as parents which ultimately translates to happier families.
While most of those in attendance at these events are willing students in that they are open to trying something different to address their child's behavior problems, there are always at least one or two who can give every reason in the book why the techniques will not work for their child. Things such as:
- My child is different
- I've tried that and it didn't work.
- Nothing affects my kid.
And the list could go on and on. I've gotta tell you that I am a big believer in the effect of positive and negative energy. I want to say to these parents that if you believe it won't work, it won't. Simple as that. You get what you give. If you don't believe in the techniques that you are using, neither will your kids. They are like dogs -- they can sense fear or, in the case of parenting, lack of confidence (or maybe it is fear in some cases!). When you believe you can do it, so will they.
I often find that those parents who are in this mind state are lacking tools. Most of you have watched Supernanny, right? We see parents who are overwhelmed and hopeless in the beginning. As Jo works with the parents, she gives them tools, tips and suggestions on how to manage behaviors. As the parents implement these changes with her supervision and feedback, their confidence level begins to increase. As their confidence increases, their children's behavior changes accordingly.
I've worked with many parents who are feeling hopeless. Some parents are able to find support in family and friends, while others reach out for external support from a parent coach such as myself. Whatever the situation, it is essential to start filling that parenting toolbox and have individuals who can be there to provide emotional support and guidance through the process of change.
And that's really what it is, right? Change. It is such a simple word and concept, but yet it is so hard to do. If change were easy, no one would be overweight, do drugs or smoke, eh? Change requires sticking to it and that means for longer than just two weeks. If you want to see change, you need to make a commitment to do it for an extended period of time until it becomes habit. Some research indicates that this usually occurs after six weeks. Doesn't sound like a long time, but it is when we are talking about changing the way we respond to our kids challenging behaviors.
So, my challenge to those of you who have been struggling with discipline is to consider what you are giving? Are you exuding confidence or exasperation? If it is the latter, how are you going to change your energy level? What supports do you need? How hard are you willing to work to change? Post your thoughts and comments!
Next time, we will talk more about positive and negative energies by looking at the Dog Whisperer...