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1 month ago · · 0 comments

Good Parenting Advice – The No.1 Thing Every Parent Should Know

Are you engaging in good parenting?

Good ParentingThis question of ‘good parenting’ is a common one every parent asks themselves from time to time. As a parent of a child (of any age), you can quickly begin to doubt your parenting skills when you hear the latest parenting news that contradicts what you thought you were doing well. For instance, your parents were most likely taught to sleep a new baby on it’s tummy. However we now know this is dangerous and SIDS advice is to sleep a baby on it’s back to avoid the potential for sudden infant cot death.

So how do you know if you’re doing a good job?

 

Besides the basics of ensuring your child is safe, secure, healthy and happy, there is one key ingredient to effective parenting

The No.1 Thing All Parenting Should Know Is How To Parenting With Consistency (including learning from mistakes & starting again)

Consistency has two elements:

  1. Being consistent with your parenting approach
  2. Tweaking things when your approach isn’t having the desired outcome

Let’s break these down a little further

Being consistent with your parenting approach

Good ParentingOne of the most important (yet challenging) aspects of being a parent is being consistent. Consistency provides security and boundaries for children and helps them to develop healthy self esteems that are not dictated by your moods. When you parent inconsistently, your child becomes very insecure and riddled with self-doubt. This outcome of inconsistent parenting is often seen in older children who find it very stressful to make decisions, out of fear of making a mistake.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your child’s ‘pester power’, your moods, your child’s moods and the influence of others – all can impact on your ability to parent consistently. Children have a way of finding a parents weak spot and pestering until you let go – often after a few minutes of arguing. This behaviour of course makes being consistent a BIG challenge for parents.

You may have decided to be a calm, rational and reasonable parent, who is supportive and caring to your child. But… how does this parenting style hold up against a tantrum in public? How do you remain calm when you’re exhausted from work, or you’ve had a really bad day? These are the times when it is really hard to be consisten and yelling or raising your voice can become the norm. Contrary to your explicit desire to be calm and rational with your children. So what’s the answer?

The key to being consistent in your parenting style is trusting in yourself and in your methods of parenting. It is IMPOSSIBLE to be a consistent parenting when you have low self esteem.

Let’s say, one very hot afternoon, you finish work, pick up your child from school and decide to buy her an icy pole on the way home from school. You enter the service station store and she asked to have an ice cream. You are concerned about her recent weight gain, so you say “no” and offer her the icy pole again. She continues to pester you and begins to stamp her feet and get angry with you when you won’t give in. This scenario could go a number of ways:

Scenario 1: You ignore the tantrum. You continue to calmly ask her if she would like an icy pole. You finally tell her if she doesn’t want the icy pole, you’re happy to leave with nothing. She finally calms down and takes the icy pole. Later when things calm down you explain that her behaviour was not respectful and ruined a nice gesture from you. Next time, you hope she can be more gracious. She apologises and you move on.

Scenario 2: You get angry over the tantrum. You start yelling at her and telling her she is being very disrespectful and selfish. She responds by saying you don’t care about her and only think about yourself. You start to feel guilty for saying “no”. You give in to the tantrum and buy her the ice cream. She is so happy, but you feel terrible for giving in to something you things is unhealthy for her. She has also learnt to just keep pestering you until you feel guilty and cave in.

You can only engage in Scenario 1 when you feel self confident and self assured in your parenting decisions. If you feel doubtful or insecure, then you will give in when your child hits the right note!

Tweaking things when your approach isn’t having the desired outcome

Good ParentingThere will be times when you are consistently trying an approach to parenting, but it just isn’t working. As a result, it’s making you frustrated and causing you to derail your  desired parenting style. For instance, let’s say you have decided that your child should be in bed by 8:30pm every night (unless it cannot be avoided). Your method of getting your child to bed is by providing a routine you follow every night. However, when it comes to ‘lights out’, your child begins to perk up. Every night is takes longer and longer to get your child to sleep and you end up having to yell to get him to sleep. By this time it’s ridiculously late and you all wake up emotional and tired the next day.

Believe it or not, many parents will just continue with a routine like this that isn’t working, because they believe the method MUST be right. Yet all children are NOT the same. When a consistent parenting approach isn’t working, it’s time to tweak something so that you get the desired outcome without having to get upset. In this example, a reward chart could work really well, or a written list of things to do before bed might work. This way your child can physically be involved in the routine. You could trial different methods until you found the one that worked best. Then be consistent in your parenting approach with this new approach.

So, there you having it. The No.1 good parenting tip for all parents is to learn how to be consistent and to tweak this consistency as needed for your specific child.

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Author of Perfect Mums & Refresh Your Life

9 months ago · · 0 comments

Child Development: Coping With The ‘Kid Temper Tantrum’

Do you have a problem child, or could you expecting too much from your child’s behaviour?

child developmentAs a parent you want the best for your child. But today there has never been more expectations on how a child should behave and on the best ways to parent. Parents judge themselves too harshly, judge other parents too harshly and judge their children too harshly.

A good example of this is when a child misbehaves in public. Parents are usually mortified because they are:

a) worried about what other people might think of their child or their parenting skills

b) worried there must be something seriously wrong with their child to act in this manner

c) worried about the outcome of the tantrum.

However, often we as parents often don’t stop to think about why our child is acting out.

Dealing with challenging behaviour

I have 2 children. My eldest daughter is generally pretty well behaved. However, whilst generally delightful, my toddler has developed a habit of running away in public and throwing huge tantrums in public on occasions. Until recently I tried my usual tactic of remaining calm during the incident, removing my child away from the environment and then calmly addressing what just happened. Of course this did nothing to stop the behaviour from happening again. So this led me to think a lot deeper into what might be going on.

Research tells us is that children are attention junkies. They do not have an off switch. They have a thirst for knowledge and play and want to always be the centre of attention. This is interesting, because here I was expecting my 2 year old to be well behaved in situations she would obviously find boring, unstimulating and find herself not the centre of attention. So I thought back to all these episodes. Being the second child, she is often forced to do things that are not suitable or fun (such as collecting her sister from school). So this is always going to be a ‘danger zone’ as we are navigating the school children, passing by the playground and paying attention to when her sister exists class.  Being with our friends is another ‘danger zone’ because we need to share our attention. Shopping is also a hot spot as we are distracted by shop assistants etc. Now, of course I do not want to create a monster who needs attention every minute, because no-one can provide a child undivided attention every minute of the day. However, I soon realised there are much clever ways to engage her in the activities we were are involved in, so that she feels valued, entertained and important, because at 2 years of age she can’t understand “mummy can’t talk or play right now!” – this conceptual understanding comes late in childhood development.

Back to the answer to deal with her toddler tantrum

Through some analysis of the situation, I realised the answer was not to work out ways to change her behaviour, but rather what I could do to involve her so that she felt her ‘attention junkie’ was being fulfilled?

So we trialled my new approach during our weekly market shop. Normally, I am chasing after her at least once. So first I needed to tire her out and then I needed to get her involved. The first thing we did was visit the animals at the market. This satisfied her energy levels enough to get started on the shop. Next we grabbed her a cane basket and spoke about all the veggies we were collecting. Then she was in charge of the money and the shop was completed without a glitch. The method was relatively simply, but it just took some thinking through.

Step 1: Being physical

Step 2: Being involved

A new approach to toddler behaviour

This experience taught me that the pressures placed on parents to be perfect lead us to assume we must be doing something wrong if our child misbehaves, or that our child is just really naughty. But I don’t believe this is true. I believe children are sponges and love to be the centre of attention. We can’t always give it to them and there are times we need a break, but if we take charge and involve then in our activities as much as possible. They will generally reduce their outbursts, feel much more relaxed and be much happier too.

So the next time your child has a temper tantrum in public, ask yourself what might be going on in terms of energy levels and engagement. Ask yourself questions, such as: is my child bored, over tired, unengaged, craving attention and so on. The answers to these questions will provide great cues as to what’s really going on and will give you a starting point to strategically and successfully move forward.

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Personal Development Coach & Author

Help For Mums

 

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