Positive Parenting: Less is More
I love words. I love writing them, saying them…I can really never get enough of them. As I parent, I’ve tried to use that to my advantage. I use lots of words with Liam – not just in the “grow his vocabulary” way but also in the “explain everything” sense of the word. When Liam is sad about not getting something he wanted, I explain to him why he can’t have it right now. When he does something new or great, I explain why it makes me so happy and proud. I thought this playing-to-my-strengths method of parenting was pretty genius.
Then yesterday, I attended a Positive & Proactive Parenting webinar that was hosted by Bright Horizons and Amy McCready, (Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions). I’m pretty well-versed in the positive parenting methodology, so most of it served as an excellent reminder of the importance of giving Liam my undivided attention each day – of filling up his “bucket” with positive attention so he doesn’t feel the need to seek out negative attention. On a day like today when I’m tired and my husband is traveling for work, that reminder was necessary. But I also took to heart Amy’s advice on dealing with questions that are asked repeatedly, something that happens from time to time in our house, and her response was to keep with answering a question just once and then moving on. “Asked and answered” as she said. If asked again, simply say “I’ve already answered that question.” Keeping it simple and brief makes it clear that the issue is decided and over.
This little exchange got me thinking – have I been using too many words with Liam? In my effort to get down on his level and talk things out, am I really just confusing him? In my mind, explaining has always seemed like a way to respect his personhood – to show I value him enough to want him to understand what is happening. But looking back, I can absolutely recognize times where my explanation may have possibly left the door open in his mind.
I’m still digesting the information and while I’m not totally abandoning the amount of words I use with Liam, this advice has got me thinking about using them more carefully and conservatively – particularly when it comes to discipline and boundary setting.
Any one else attend the webinar yesterday? What did you take away from it?
Editor’s Note: In a recent webinar – Parenting: Being Proactive & Positive – Bright Horizons and Amy McCready shared proactive parenting techniques that foster good behavior and eliminate the power struggle that often fuels bad behavior. Watch now!
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