How to be ignored by your kids in 3 easy steps
Home Page Step 1: Be Consistent
Mean what you say. If you mean you are going to count to three and then impose a consequence, don’t count to 7. Make your expectations clear, and always follow through. There’s no room for gray area here, because if you change your mind, your child will learn that they just need to work harder the next time to get you to give in again.
discount code for lloyds pharmacy viagra Step 2: Reward Positive Behaviors
In his work on marital relationships, Dr. John Gottman came up with a “magic ratio” that says, in essence, happy couples have on average five times as many positive interactions as negative interactions. Personally, I think this is a great rule of thumb for all relationships. We should be providing at least five times more positive validations compared to every criticism. Positive reinforcement will literally result in an increase in the behaviors we want to see, so naturally we should spend most of our time reinforcing these behaviors. You can even use a reward system by rewarding those behaviors you want to see the most. My kids and I have had many a Slurpee together over the years with this very thought in mind.
Step 3: Pick Your Battles
If you pick every battle, you’ll lose them all. This is the single best way to teach your kids to blow you off. This was certainly the case with this mom, right? She nagged about everything and had no energy to follow through. I’d encourage her to pick the battles that are most important to her. In our home, I can’t stand fighting. I just won’t tolerate it. So, when our kids are fighting, I’m willing to make their lives miserable unless they figure it out and resolve it. It’s a battle that’s important to me, and I will win it. With my teenage daughter, I don’t truly care if she is home by midnight on the weekends or if it’s 10 minutes after midnight. She’s a pretty responsible kid and this just isn’t a battle I need to get into with her. So for this mom, she needs to figure out what matters most and then win those battles.
Step 1: Trade seats with your husband. He’s the one that needs the counsel and advice.
Step 2: No, seriously, I realize you just got upgraded into this nice seat, but go get him because none of what I told you earlier will matter if he doesn’t listen to what I have to say.
Yes, misbehaving kids are a problem, and this mom could probably do better at being consistent, rewarding positive behaviors, and picking her battles more wisely. However, the best parenting advice in the world cannot fix one parent undermining the other. I don’t care which direction this takes, and I’ve seen it go both ways. Sometimes as parents we just spend too much time trying to “make up” for the perceived weaknesses of our spouse. This problem is normal because we all have different personality styles and backgrounds, and so our parenting styles can sometimes be highly conflictual. So back to this husband. What will help him? Do I have a multi-step plan for him? Of course I do!
Step 1: Stop Undermining Your Wife
I realize you think she is too harsh and negative, and you wish she could just relax and not make a big deal out of everything. I get it. You work all day and want to come home to some peace, and most of what you see is your exhausted wife who is yelling and nagging the kids to get their homework done. Remember that she is in the trenches all day long. You guys chose to have her stay at home to raise the kids while you became the breadwinner. This means that she’s been at war all day while you’ve been at work. You coming home to smooth things over is just making things worse. Would you like me to give you a 2-step plan to make your wife resent you? Step 1: Come home and criticize her parenting flaws, and make sure the kids see this so they know they don’t have to take her seriously. Step 2: Never mind, Step 1 is all it took. This is the message I want you to understand: YOU are creating these little monsters, not her. By telling her that their misbehaviors are just “kids being kids” and by telling them that “mom is just stressed out right now,” you have completely undermined everything she’s been working at all day. They can now blow her off just like you do because this is what you’ve taught them is okay. You wife has ZERO credibility with the kids, and this is because of you.
Step 2: You 100% Must Establish Credibility for Your Wife
Understand that it is your job to help establish credibility for her. That means having her back regardless of how ridiculous you think she is being. The only exception to this is abuse – if she is hurting the kids, then, of course, you have to step in. (By the way, not letting Johnny play with his Xbox for the next week because he keeps forgetting to turn in his homework is not abuse.) So when she is telling Johnny to stop slapping the back of his brother’s head and running away, you definitely do not follow up by telling Johnny that Mom is just stressed out right now. You support her even if you don’t like it. And you act like you like it. You can hash the details out with your wife later in private. My rule of thumb in your family is that because she is the one who is in the trenches, she gets 80% of the vote. So support her first, and then you can work on coming together in private moments later. If your wife feels your support, she will be 10 times more likely to ease up and see things your way, or to at least be influenced by what you have to say.
Step 3: Get on the Same Page
As impossible as it sometimes is, try to get on the same page with your parenting goals. At least try to get close. This will require you to sit down and talk about how you want things to be in your family. What kinds of goals do you have? What is important to each of you? Which battles are the most important to you? What kinds of structure and rules do you want to establish? What do you each need from the other in order to accomplish these goals? Learn how to talk about difficult things, like how you want her to stop yelling all the time, or how you want him to support what you’re doing with the kids. You can learn more about how to get on the same page and have these difficult but rewarding conversations.