In this episode, I want to talk about the three basic rules to the parenting relationship.
Number one: stop what doesn’t work. Getting rid of practices that aren’t bearing fruit seems like a no-brainer, but however obvious it may be, it can be hard to do.
Sometimes we can be operating in defaults and habits that have been around for years, and ceasing these activities and approaches can feel uncomfortable. There may even be a gap, where you don’t quite know what to do instead.
I’ve even advised some parents to quit all parenting activities for a set time, such as two weeks. This is so they can discover how to apply rule number one, and often so they can begin to heal as well.
Number two: build on what does work. Continue the things that bear fruit.
Some of you may be thinking, yelling is the only thing that works in our home. However, I want you to assess it by looking at whether it’s creating space for trust and peace to grow long-term; this is a more important measure than whether it seems to help tasks get done or unwanted behaviors to stop in the short term.
Try to observe the times and places where your attempts at conversation go well compared to others. Also, keep an eye open for any boundaries that seem to be working.
Number three: practice healthy relationship behaviors - regardless of what. your intuition says. That last part can sometimes get me into some debates with certain parents, but sometimes our common sense and intuition can do us wrong, especially in situations that stoke our emotions and try our limits.
Regardless of whether your child is behaving or misbehaving, you have control over your actions and approach.
So, make sure to create a pre-determined rule of life about how you will act and respond, and live that out, even if things get difficult in family relationships. This will ensure that our momentary feelings aren’t dictating our parenting strategy.