Monday, March 16, 2009

Non reactive parenting.

I need to keep reminding myself of the need for this!
Years ago, when I realised my dream of non-coercive parenting was not going to work with the personalities my children and I had been given, I was recommended to read "The Secret of Parenting" by Anthony Wolf. While I still haven't achieved his ideal of non punishment through "extinguishing" misbehaviour, I cannot recommend the book enough. In a nutshell, the misbehaving child wants your emotional reaction above all else, and if you give him that, he will continue misbehaving. We make some of our worst parenting decisions and mistakes when we come from a place of reacting emotionally or taking our kids' behaviour personally. (Don't most of us tend to come down on them harder if they misbehave in public, or stick a knife in our emotional soft spots).
It took me to #2 to realise that "I hate you, you're the worst mother ever, you shouldn't even be allowed to have children!" SHOULD. NOT. BE. RESPONDED. TO.
Because they really don't mean it.
If you punish them for it, they will believe their outlandish statements all the more and resent you. And if you go for the tried and true, "If I dropped dead right now, you would regret that being the last thing you said to me"...just ask me what that does to some one's psyche.
So on a rainy, cold, PMSing and headachey day, it's off to the library website for more Wolf and a self reminder not to let them get to me.