Taking the time to notice the patterns that exist in our lives with kids and responding to the patterns in new ways, in other words, doing something different, is often times the easiest and most effective solution.
Why? Because any time we switch it up with our kids, something happens for both the parent and child. Our brains go from automatic pilot to fully engaged.
In the parent’s case, this is the difference between using ineffective, unhealthy and negative parenting strategies and replacing them with intentional, enhancing and powerful parenting strategies that work over time to completely change the family environment.
In the child’s case, this means they “wake up”. The recognize there is something new happening and old responses are no longer working to engage parents. It means they are required to use their creative process to interpret what is happening and to come up with new strategies and to question whether these new strategies are effective when it comes to engaging their parents.
Here is a recap of a conversation I had recently with a parent about the power of ignoring:
“I noticed that although I thought I was ignoring tantrums, I really wasn’t. I was somehow still engaged. Now, I take a minute and decide – really decide, that I am going to go on with what I am doing and you know what – it makes all the difference. Now I am actually ignoring what they are doing and when I do, the mischief making stops.”
There you go. Ignoring the shenanigans was the “doing something different”.
Here is how it works:
- Kids are going to make mischief.
- They depend on you to be consistent in your parenting strategies. If these include nagging, lecturing, yelling and punishing, this is what the child is accustomed to and they know how to respond.
When you decide to ignore, the game changes.
- Typically, a child will escalate their antics, hoping to get the response they are use to getting from their folks. In their mind, they are thinking “Hey! You! Parent! What’s up? Look at me. I am being “naughty”. Do something. Do what you do.
- When this doesn’t happen, when you continue to ignore, the kids begin to push back even harder. The mischief making intensifies again, in the hopes that parents will “go back to the old way”.
- Finally, when they are worn out and convinced, that mom or dad aren’t going back to their old ways, they are required to “think”. Hence my constant reminder to parents that we are indeed trying to RAISE thinking children.
- When we decide, when we are intentional in our decision making process, ignoring shifts from a passive, giving in act – to a powerful, respectful, intentional dynamic act. That’s a big difference. From passive to active. Ignoring behavior now becomes a powerful pro-active parenting strategy.
Ignoring is only the beginning. The Parenting On Track™ program is designed to help parents discover what isn’t working and to replace that with strategies that focus on enhancing both the relationship parents have with their kids and their child’s ability to grow into an independent and confident person.