Parenting Skills

12 weeks challenge:

If you’d like to improve your parenting skills, here’s a challenge for you!  We encourage you to practice different techniques for 12 week. Each week we will choose a different skill. All techniques will come from two books: 

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk” by Adele Faber  and  “The Whole Brain Child, 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind” By: Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson

Week 1:

 We start with validating our children’s emotions. 

What does it mean? 

Instead of telling your child what they are feeling, acknowledge their emotions. 

Four strategies used in the book “How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk”:

  1. Listen quietly
  2. Acknowledge their feelings by saying “ ohh…mmmm…. I see…”
  3. Name their feelings: “That sounds frustrating”
  4. Give the child their wishes in fantasy: “ I wish I could make the banana ripe for you right now” 

Week 2

This week we will focus on cooperation, or, to put it simple: having kids do what we ask them to do 🙂

As Faber writes: “One of the built-in frustrations of parenthood is the daily struggle to get our children to behave in ways that are acceptable to us and to society. This can be maddening, uphill work. Part of the problem lies in the conflict of needs. The adult need is for some semblance of cleanliness, order, courtesy, and routine. The children couldn’t care less. How many of them would, of their own volition, take a bath, say “please” or “thank you,” or ever change their “underwear? How many of them would even wear underwear? A lot of parental passion goes into helping children adjust to societal norms. And somehow the more intense we become, the more actively they resist.”

So true… and so frustrating. 

Faber suggest using those simple steps:

“To Engage a Child’s Cooperation

1. DESCRIBE WHAT YOU SEE, OR DESCRIBE THE PROBLEM.
“There’s a wet towel on the bed.”

2. GIVE INFORMATION.
“The towel is getting my blanket wet.”

3. SAY IT WITH A WORD.
“The towel!”

4. DESCRIBE WHAT YOU FEEL.”
“I don’t like sleeping in a wet bed!”

5. WRITE A NOTE.
(above towel rack)
Please put me back so I can dry. Thanks!
Your Towel”
(Excerpt From: Adele Faber. “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.” Apple Books)

Week 3

How to achieve your goals without punishment? That’s the challenge for this week:

“Alternatives to Punishment

1. EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS STRONGLY—WITHOUT ATTACKING CHARACTER.
“I’m furious that my new saw was left outside to rust in the rain!”

2. STATE YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
“I expect my tools to be returned after they’ve been borrowed.”

3. SHOW THE CHILD HOW TO MAKE AMENDS.
“What this saw needs now is a little steel wool and a lot of elbow grease.”

“4. OFFER A CHOICE.”
“You can borrow my tools and return them or you can give up the privilege of using them. You decide.”

5. TAKE ACTION.
Child: “Why is the toolbox locked?”
Father: “You tell me why.”

6. PROBLEM-SOLVE.
“What can we work out so that you can use my tools when you need them, and so that I’ll be sure they’re there when I need them?”

Excerpt From: Adele Faber. “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.” Apple Books.

Week 4 

This week is all about encouraging our  children’s autonomy. 

“To Encourage Autonomy
1. LET CHILDREN MAKE CHOICES.
“Are you in the mood for your gray pants, or your red pants?”
2. SHOW RESPECT FOR A CHILD’S STRUGGLE.
“A jar can be hard to open. Sometimes it helps if you tap the lid with a spoon.”
3. DON’T ASK TOO MANY QUESTIONS.
“Glad to see you. Welcome home.”
“4. DON’T RUSH TO ANSWER QUESTIONS.
“That’s an interesting question. What do you think?”
5. ENCOURAGE CHILDREN TO USE SOURCES OUTSIDE THE HOME.
“Maybe the pet shop owner would have a suggestion.”
6. DON’T TAKE AWAY HOPE.
“So you’re thinking of trying out for the play! That should be an experience.”

Excerpt From: Adele Faber. “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.” Apple Books. 

Week 5

Avoiding praise! Wow, that’s going to be a challenge.  So instead of calling something good or bad we again use descriptions.

“Praise and Self-Esteem

Instead of Evaluating (“Good” . . . “Great!” . . . “Fantastic!”),

Describe.

1. DESCRIBE WHAT YOU SEE.
“I see a clean floor, a smooth bed, and books neatly lined up on the shelf.”

2. DESCRIBE WHAT YOU FEEL.
“It’s a pleasure to walk into this room!”

3. SUM UP THE CHILD’S PRAISEWORTHY BEHAVIOR WITH A WORD.
“You sorted out your Legos, cars, and farm animals, and put them in separate boxes. That’s what I call organisation!”

Excerpt From: Adele Faber. “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.” Apple Books. 

Week 6

This week focuses on helping children to be their best self. Here are some ideas:

“To Free Children from Playing Roles

1. LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO SHOW THE CHILD A NEW PICTURE OF HIMSELF OR HERSELF. “You’ve had that toy since you were three and it almost looks like new!”

2. PUT CHILDREN IN SITUATIONS WHERE THEY CAN SEE THEMSELVES DIFFERENTLY.
“Sara, would you take the screwdriver and tighten the pulls on these drawers?”

3. LET CHILDREN OVERHEAR YOU SAY SOMETHING POSITIVE ABOUT THEM.
“He held his arm steady even though the shot hurt.”

4. MODEL THE BEHAVIOR YOU’D LIKE TO SEE.
“It’s hard to lose, but I’ll try to be a sport about it. Congratulations!”

“5. BE A STOREHOUSE FOR YOUR CHILD’S SPECIAL MOMENTS.
“I remember the time you . . .”

6. WHEN YOUR CHILD ACTS ACCORDING TO THE OLD LABEL, STATE YOUR FEELINGS AND/OR YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
“I don’t like that. Despite your strong feelings, I expect sportsmanship from you.”

Excerpt From: Adele Faber. “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.” Apple Books. 

Week 7

OK, so this week we are moving to “The whole-brain child”

“Whole-Brain Strategy #1:

Connect and Redirect: Surfing Emotional Waves”

In other words, try connecting with your child on an emotional level first and then you can rationalise with him.

When a child is upset, logic often won’t work until we have responded to the right brain’s emotional needs. We call this emotional connection “attunement,” which is how we connect deeply with another person and allow them to “feel felt.” When parent and child are tuned in to each other, they experience a sense of joining together.”

Once this is achieved, we can “redirect” and use the logic to address the problem.  Tantrums are great opportunities to practice this skill..As you might probably have experienced, when your child is super upset, it’s impossible to be rational with them. That’s why connecting could be more appropriate here. Once they settle you can then move to addressing the problem on a cognitive level. 

Excerpt From: Daniel J. Siegel. “The Whole-Brain Child.” Apple Books.