Is there a magic recipe to get our children to behave? During the summer, many parents feel overwhelmed, since spending more time with the family is usually synonymous with more conflicts and more educational challenges. The clashes, fights or ignoring us are some of the situations that can get us crazy, but how can we tackle these challenges without ending up physically and emotionally exhausted?
We are going to see different situations that may arise and how we can manage them with the advice of our experts:
1. How to deal with challenging behaviors?
Many times we take certain behaviors of our children as a personal attack on us and we feel challenged. However, as María Soto, an expert in Positive Discipline, explains, “we should not think that our son acts in a certain way to annoy us, but because something happens to him”. As the founder of the Educa Bonito Project says, “our children misbehave because they don’t know how to express what happens to them in another way, bad behaviors are bad decisions that tell us about a need. And in the face of their poorly expressed need, many times we only take into account how they express it, not what they really feel ”.
For this reason, María Soto proposes us to use the iceberg theory. To do this, let’s first imagine an iceberg. The block of ice is not only the part that can be seen, the one that protrudes from the water, but there is a submerged part that is much larger, and that ships must take into account when navigating. María Soto explains the children’s behavior in the same way: “Imagine that my oldest son beats my little daughter and I punish him to penalize her behavior (visible part of the iceberg). However, I do not look at the invisible part of the iceberg to understand what is motivating him to hit his sister. In this case he does it because he is jealous. Tomorrow, instead of hitting him, he will hide his toys. I will punish him again. His mistaken belief (thinking that I love his sister more) will still be there ”. To manage these situations when they arise, family coach Raquel de Diego advises us to follow these tips:
- Emotionally “get out” of the situation for a moment, and realize that it is not a direct confrontation with you. You need to release that emotional jam that you do not know how to channel it, and something has jumped as an alarm so that you explode with that attitude that you show.
- Do not fuel the conflict or behavior with blame or punishment at this time. Let the flames cool, just tell him very firmly without losing the love you feel for him or her in the ways or the words, that this is not the way. That he can count on you to be in another calmer way.
- Listen without judgment, stay calm, and offer support. If he perceives you with a conciliatory attitude, you can go back to what happened later. By talking lovingly to her and doing another enjoyable activity together, she can trust her to voluntarily tell you what’s wrong with her.
2. What to do when boredom invades you?
Another of the situations that we find difficult to manage, especially during the summer, is preceded by that phrase that terrifies so many mothers and fathers: “Me abuuuuurroooo”. When these words come out of the mouth of our children, many times we run to save them from the terrible feeling of boredom, but… are we doing them a favor by acting like this?
We tend to experience our children’s boredom as a personal failure, perhaps because we find ourselves in a society obsessed with doing and not stopping. But rescuing our children from boredom is not good, because as the psychologist Alberto Soler says “we are not giving them the opportunity to think on their own how to fill that void. If they can never decide what to do with their free time, how are they going to learn to manage it? Alberto considers that we adults “are the ones who project our intolerance of boredom on them. That intolerance has been exacerbated since we have the smart phone. A horror of emptiness has invaded us in which we cannot spend more than half a minute without being busy with something ”. So what can we do to help them manage their boredom?
- Not take out the life preserver: nobody dies of boredom and it is not very positive that you rescue them from that feeling. And by lifesavers we mean your skills as a sociocultural animator, your catalog of solutions or even screens.
- See the bright side of boredom.If we experience boredom as a problem or as a burden, perhaps our children will see boredom as a difficult problem to solve. However, if we convey to them that boredom is an opportunity to stop and think about what I want and can do with my time, they will surely see it differently.
- Convey confidence that they will be able to find something interesting to do. Many times we experience the boredom of our children as the obligation to get them out of there and, therefore, we overprotect them. But if we think that they know better than anyone what to do with that time and how to have fun, if we convey the message that they can manage their time, we will surely feel less pressure and make our children more autonomous.
- Live it as an opportunity to connect and be creative. The union is strength, and also against boredom. Surely together you can think of many games, many activities to do together or a lot to invent.
3. How to get them to obey me?
Another of the great challenges that mothers and fathers have is getting our children to behave well and listen to us without having to repeat things fifty times or without ending up yelling and losing their nerves. But how can we get it?
To get started, let’s review our expectations. As Alba Castellví told us in this presentation, “Is there anyone there that when you give an order to your children they respond immediately?” If we understand that It is normal that our sons and daughters ignore the first, perhaps we do not take this behavior so seriously.
Also touch review our method: Have we asked our children something from another room, raising our voices, while watching TV? It doesn’t seem like the most efficient method to communicate, does it? Alba, on the other hand, proposes us “go to where your son is and not talk to him from top to bottom, look into his eyes and give him a very brief message about what you expect at that moment and with the lowest possible voice ”.
It is important, above all, to review our goal when it comes to educate. Do we want children to behave well and obey or do we want responsible children who know how to make decisions? For example, if before we asked our son a thousand times from the kitchen to come to dinner and we would get angry if he did not come because we wanted him to obey, now we can focus on responsibility and give you a choice, saying, as Alba proposes: “What do you prefer: come to dinner early so there is time for the story or come later? Keep in mind that if you come late, we won’t have time for the story before going to bed ”.
We also propose you review what to do next. Once we have talked with them and reached an agreement (for example, have dinner after their favorite pictures and delete the story), we must be firm with those consequences of the decision we have made but kind with the emotions: “I understand that it annoys you not to continue watching TV, but we said we would have dinner after your favorite series.” “I see that it frustrates you not to have clean clothes. There were no clothes of yours in the washing machine basket ”.
Regarding this topic, we recommend that you view this wonderful webinar given by Amaya de Miguel: “Do you want your children to obey you? Give them love ”, in which he gives us a lot of advice and examples of how to act in certain situations and get our sons and daughters to listen to us.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.