How do you make the change? Two things will help you remove harshness from your interaction with your children: Dialogue less and show less emotion. In an attempt to build relationship, some parents spend too much time dialoguing about instructions. They try to defend their words, persuade their children to do what they're told, or logically explain the value of obeying. This is often counterproductive. Parents then resort to anger to end the discussion, complicating matters further.
"But," one mom said, "I thought talking and showing emotion are signs of a healthy family, leading to closeness in family life." And that is true when they are used in the right way. Unfortunately, when added to the instruction process, these two ingredients confuse children and don't give them the clear boundaries they need. These are two good things, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Firmness requires action, not anger. Having a toolbox of consequences is important to help move children along in life. It's not optional. Some parents use anger as their consequence. These parents need more tools that will help their children make lasting changes.
If you find yourself being harsh, take time to reevaluate your response. More action, less yelling can go a long way to bring about significant change.
What are some ways you've been able to remove harshness from your parenting? Click here to tell us about it.
This tip comes from the book, Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes In You and Your Kids, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. In chapter 6 you'll find more honor-based parenting skills.
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Following this concept has been HUGE in our household. Following the advice of friends, we read Michael Pearl's book, To Train Up A Child. Like Turansky & Miller, they focus on the parent staying calm, quiet, and very focused on first time obedience. And if you don't follow through, you get consequences. They also focus a lot on training children to do the right thing, so they are absolutely sure about the actions you expect from them. It's a great read for a small group focused on parenting!