Yell less by saying no more

Today’s Question:

My kids are constantly pressuring me for sweets. They ask for sugary cereal when they get up in the morning, cookies after school, and dessert before they go to bed at night. My daughter tells me other kids tease her when she brings healthy food to school. She wants to bring processed junk food like everyone else. Everywhere we go, people are offering junk to my kids. Lollipops at the bank, donuts after a soccer game, birthday celebrations at school, it’s everywhere! My kids spot it, start begging for it, and keep pressuring me until I give in or yell. It’s been happening more lately where I get so sick of their constant asking and begging that I scream, yell, and throw a frickin’ tantrum. How can I find peace while living with sugar crazed kids in a sugar crazed culture? Lisa

Parent Educator Response –

You teach your kids how to treat you. Intermittent reinforcement is a conditioning schedule in which a reward (or punishment) is handed out in random intervals. Gambling is an example of intermittent reinforcement. You never know when you are going to win and that anticipation keeps you coming up back for me.

In Lisa’s case, she is unknowingly reinforcing her kids’ begging and pleading behavior, by intermittently giving in and saying yes. If she said yes, right away, every time, there would be no need for begging. If she said no, every time they asked for sweets, they would get bored and stop asking. Without realizing it, Lisa has created a scenario where her kids are randomly rewarded for their begging and pleading. Not only because intermittent reinforcement can be addictive, but because the reward is sugar, which releases dopamine, the reward chemical in the child’s brain. This floods the brain with feel good chemicals making the “sugar high” a fabulous reward and worth the occasional “no” or mommy temper tantrum.

For Lisa to get her kids to stop begging for sugar, and for her to stop yelling, she needs to pick a rule (any rule) and stay consistent with reinforcing it. When she creates a boring situation for the kids where they don’t get rewarded for asking Mom for sweets, they will stop asking. She can yell less, by saying no more.

Life Coaching Answer (or….why is this so hard to do)

It sounds like Lisa is battling something many moms struggle with, balancing “doing the right thing” with “making our kids happy”. Americans eat way too much sugar. Sugar is a highly inflammatory food. Inflammation is the root of disease. Since we care about our children’s health, the “right thing to do” is to limit sugar intake. Purchase, prepare, pack and serve healthy foods so our kids will be healthy. Whatever everyone else wants to do, is their business. If other kid’s parents have different values, so be it. If banks and dry cleaners want to offer candy to your kids, you can let your kid decide, or practice saying a polite “no thank you.” Consistency and conviction are key to making this become a non-issue.

Make sure not to be too restrictive, or too indulgent, or your efforts may backfire.

Those two things are hard to come because although we care about our child’s health, we also really like making our kids happy. We love it when their face lights up with joy and excitement! They look at us like every dream came true in the form of a frosted cookie. When WE grant permission for a sugary sweet, then we are the givers of joy and happiness and they know it. Then, WE get a little hit of dopamine! The reward center in our brain goes off saying, “more of this please!” We get hooked on being the source and provider of joy. This makes us want to hang on to all decision making power so we can bathe in mutual happiness and dopamine with our sugar eating kids.

When you’ve got two competing beliefs like this, it’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of frustration. Leading to what I like to call, “the exploding doormat”. You get so tired of the begging and pleading from your kids, but also the back and forth negotiations of these two competing voices, that you end up exploding and yelling out of frustration. You just want your kids to STOP ASKING so you don’t have to listen to the negotiations going on inside your head. But because of the random reinforcement, your kids have been trained to ask so it’s easier to change mama’s behavior at this point.

In order to quiet these voices, mama needs to make a decision ahead of time. Ever wonder why some moms don’t struggle with this problem at all? It’s because they have made a decision. Here are some examples of decisions moms have communicated to their child to stop the sugar battle once and for all.

  1. You can have ONE treat per day. If you want that first thing in the morning, fine. If someone offers you candy later, you can accept it, but you have to save it for the next day. Or you can collect treats all day long then at night, choose one.
  2. I am not going to monitor your sugar intake anymore. If you eat so much that you feel sick and throw up, then maybe you will learn. This is your opportunity to learn foods make your body feel the best. If, however, you are so full of junk that you stop eating the healthy food I am providing for you, then I will take the responsibility back.
  3. No treats during the week, we save that for weekends.
  4. You’ve got to earn your desserts. Score a goal, win a donut. Let your brother go first, earn some fruit snacks. Clean the bathroom, we’ll bake cookies. Eat your vegetables, get some ice cream. Do something you are scared to do like an oral report or trying out for the school play, win a trip to Starbucks.

The rule you make isn’t as important as sticking to it with self pride, conviction and consistency. You want to think about 20 years from now, what are the results you will get from the two voices. The “I want my kids to be healthy” voice will result in healthier kids, with them respecting your authority and POSSIBLY having good boundaries with themselves and their eating.

The “I want to make my kids to be happy” voice will struggle when adolescence hits and they are grumpy and cranky. All the sugar in the world won’t turn that around but you’ll bend yourself backward trying to get that feel good dopamine hit of seeing them happy. Will you let them drink alcohol and smoke pot if it makes them happy? Will you buy them their dream car?  Kids aren’t supposed to be happy all the time so trying to make them so will exhaust you and make you, and them, miserable.

The best thing to do is focus on making YOU happy, not your kids. If you are tired of yelling and being an “exploding doormat” then focus on making decisions YOU feel good about. When you have a very clear NO, there’s no need for yelling, no matter how much kids be and plead. You get to be a mom you admire, today and 20 years down the road. Happiness is fleeting, make decisions based what will make you proud of YOURSELF in the long term.

 

When to stay consistent or try something new?

Today’s question:

I really want my son to eat healthy but he is such a picky eater. It drives me crazy that he’s so resistant to the foods I like to cook. I keep presenting the same foods to him hoping he’ll come around, like the experts suggest. I have heard that the definition of insanity is “Doing the same thing over again but expecting a different result.” I’ve also heard that when it comes to parenting, consistency is key. When something isn’t working, how do I know when to stay consistent, or when it’s time to try something else? 

– Stacy

This is such a great question and demonstrates how mothering is more of an art than a science. It really comes down to what works best for you. The most important thing is for YOU to ENJOY your kiddos. If their idiosyncrocies start driving you crazy, or you “bending over backwards” for them causes resentment, then this 

is more of a reason to change than some arbitrary rule.

It was Einstein who is credited with saying “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.” He was not home with kids trying to get them to eat their broccoli.

The Parent Education Answer: 

If you lay down a rule like, “no dessert unless you try everything on your plate,” then you certainly want to be consistent. When parents are consistent in their rules, it makes kids feel safe and helps them respect your authority. You want your kids to believe you when you say things, and being consistent in words and actions is crucial.

The conventional advice for picky eaters is to sit down together as a family. Children learn by imitation so letting them watch you enjoy your food is great modeling. Always include at least one thing on the plate that you know your child likes. Encouraging your child to cook with you and help prepare meals helps the foods become more familiar. Make food friendly and fun-looking. Play games with food. Some kids need to taste a food ten times before it becomes familiar.

A study was done in England trying to figure out the most effective way to get a non-broccoli eating child, to eat broccoli. What they found to work the best was to have a teen of the same gender, sit down across from the child and happily devour a bowl of broccoli without ever speaking a word to the child.

One of the things that worked for me was understanding my child’s unique pickiness. My son was a “true” picky eater. He had some sensory motor integration issues and was hypersensitive to sounds, touch and textures. Realizing that this wasn’t his fault gave me compassion and patience. Here are 3 tips that worked for cooking for a kid with a sensitive palette.

  1. Cook and serve foods plain and separate so he can anticipate the textures of each item.
  2. My kid was so repulsed by new food, he had a hard time looking at it. We first worked on keeping it on the table, then his plate, then touching it, then eating it. When something is a big task, breaking it down into micro-steps can really help.
  3. Once we got him comfortable eating chicken, we built on it by offering pork, but called it chicken. Expand their palette by offering foods of similar textures. Mashed carrots could expand to yams to pumpkin pie.

My daughter was picky in a completely different way. She didn’t have a sensitive palette, just a strong will and strange opinions. There were times she would only eat red food, or she’d eat mac n cheese everyday for two weeks and then never again. We called her a “pig-a-tarian” when her diet consisted of salami, sausage, and bacon, but shortly after, she turned into a sugar & carb loving full vegetarian. This fickle eating drove me crazy because I never knew if she would eat what I served her. It did help when I noticed she had a three-day cycle. She would barely eat anything for two days but then pig out roughly every third day.

Because she seemed impossible to please, it was easier to let go of trying and just cook the things I wanted to cook for the rest of the family. 

The life coaching answer:

So, how do you know when to throw in the towel on a rule you have set which doesn’t seem to be working? How about 2 weeks. Or, just, whenever you feel the urge to stab yourself in the eye with a kiddie fork.

Supermom sanity has to be priority number one. Your child is not going to starve himself to death. Nutrition is important, but your mental and emotional health come first. It’s easier for a kid to eat when they are relaxed, not having a stressed-out-crazy-lady monitor ones protein intake.

In order to prioritize your sanity, you need to pay attention to how you are feeling. How do you act when you feel stressed? What are you trying to control that you have no control over? What are you ready to let go of? We get so focused on our kids, we forget to pay attention to how we feel. Priortize this and everything else will become easier.

A word of warning, make sure eating doesn’t become a power struggle. If you cling really tightly to how your kids should eat, it will probably become an area where they push back on and rebel against you. If this is your situation, email me and I’ll address it on another episode.

 

 Supermom Kryptonite: Cognitive Dissonance

You can see how these two thoughts “be consistent” but “don’t do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result” are competing with each other. This cognitive dissonance feels uncomfortable and makes us feel stuck and confused, not knowing which action to take. If you have an area of your life where you feel uncomfortable, stuck, and confused, look for some contradictory thoughts and see where you can make a decision. Making a decision on either side will feel so much better. I did it while writing this blog. I was feeling really tired and wandering around my laptop, looking at facebook, and avoiding beforeI stopped myself and said “just choose one”. I chose the question I would answer and what to write about, and then took a nap. Then I wrote the rest.

Indecision drains us. “Should I go to the gym or walk the dog?” It doesn’t matter, just choose one. “Should I sign myself up for a life coaching program or sign my daughter up for music lessons?” Give yourself the freedom that comes from committing to a decision today, knowing you can always change your mind.

 

Supermom Power Boost: Taking care of #1

Most of my clients have a hard time putting their needs before their kids. Do you know anyone whose mom doesn’t take good care of her mental, emotional, financial or physical health? It is such a drain on the child. The most important gift we can give our kids is our own health and happiness. Today’s Supermom Powerboost is to cook what you enjoy cooking. Go to the movies by yourself. Send yourself flowers. Do something to honor and appreciate yourself. This is not the job of your kids or husband but you can teach them how to treat you.

Once a month, I would get the Oprah magazine in the mail. In the next few days, I would find an opportunity to go “out to dinner with Oprah”. It was so lovely not having to cook or do dishes. I got to choose exactly what I wanted to eat and read what I wanted to read. We can get so hooked into focusing on the kids, that we forget to focus on ourselves. I highly recommend building a routine around self care so you don’t have to hit the boiling point every time you need a break. Create consistency around “mom time” and the kids will get used to it and won’t cling and cry like they can do if they aren’t accustomed to it.

How to prevent “failure to launch”?

Today’s question: 

“My son is 16 and UNMOTIVATED. He gets by at school, but that’s it. He doesn’t play sports or have a job or even his driver’s license. I’ve given this kid every opportunity, and I’m resentful that he doesn’t appreciate it. I’m sick of nagging and trying to motivate him because clearly, it’s not working. I’m worried he’s going to be one of those “failure to launch” kids who’s thirty years old and just lays on the couch playing video games and smoking pot. This is unacceptable to me. How can I prevent a “failure to launch?” – April

Parent Educator Answer: “Failure to Launch” is a term used to describe a delay into adult independence and responsibility. Mom has a strong idea in her head of where a 16 year old should be (getting a driver’s license and job), but since he isn’t moving in that direction, she starts worrying about what this means for his future.

There are MANY reasons why we are seeing an increase in “failure to launch” scenarios in our culture. 

It’s common in Supermom culture to do too much for our kids. Optimizing children’s opportunities and focusing on kids instead of parental happiness is unnatural, and puts stress on the family. When we use stress and fear to fuel our actions (we’d better sign up for music lessons, private coaching, tutoring or else we’ll be left behind) our kids don’t learn to motivate themselves out of joy, passion, or interest.

With downtime and boredom, kids learn to listen to their inner wisdom and what interests they want to pursue for their adult life. American kids have less down time than ever before. When every spare minute is filled with a text, tweet, or video game, kids aren’t able to hear what their wisdom is telling them.

Our perfectionistic parenting culture puts too much emphasis on ‘doing everything right’ and meeting societal expectations. It’s really hard for a kid to transition into a new version of themselves when they are afraid of making mistakes or failing. Some kids think the safest way to avoid failure is to not try. Avoiding new things is a common way of coping with the anxiety and fear that naturally bubble up as kids grow into the challenges of adulthood.

Our culture creates the perfect recipe for “failure to launch”. While podcasts like this are trying to change the perfectionistic, work hard and blame the mom culture, what can this mom do to help her (possibly) fearful, avoidant son?

Right now, nothing. Because her emotions are rooted in fear, everything she says or does will add to his fear, increasing his tendency toward avoidance.

Life Coach Answer: I know it’s easy to look at your son’s current behavior and “futurize” and “catastrophize” imagining that he will never change. When you do that, you put your brain into the fight or flight response believing there is an emergency to be addressed right NOW. This angry, fearful energy makes you nag, complain, cajole, and TRY to get him to do what YOU want. He picks up on your fear, making him increase his desire to avoid the world.

Before you can take productive action, you need to release the anger and fear. Why? Because emotions are contagious. When you are calm and confident, he will pick up on that. In order to face the many challenges that lie ahead of him, he needs to have confidence in his ability to achieve AND to fail.

First, recognize that in this moment, all is well. There are no immediate threats to your safety or to his. Breathe and notice that all the drama is happening inside your own head. You are using your imagination to create a dreary future scenario. You could just as easily envision ten other futures for him instead of the one you currently are.

Most moms dread this “failure to launch” scenario because of what they would say to themselves and to their sons if this situation came about. “I failed. He’s a failure.” So let’s make a commitment right here and now that, no matter what, you will focus on love. “I loved him with all my heart.” “He is still 100% lovable, no matter what.” “Even if he never lives up to his potential, I will love him.” “My job is just to love, the rest is up to him.”

Now that we’ve got you out of fear, you can actually say and do things that might help.

Encourage small steps, rather than criticize. Find something to focus on that is a sign of growth or forward momentum, no matter how small. “You found the DMV website today, YEAH!” “You were nervous to ask your friend about his job but you did it anyway, that’s great!” Praising or rewarding him every time he faces his fear is how we undo perfectionism. Then, he can learn to associate the negative feeling of fear, with a positive result.

Meanwhile, you can hold a vision of him being brave and bold, until he can hold it for himself. Picture him taking chances, being brave, and feeling scared but doing it anyway.

Moms can help prevent “failure to launch” by remembering that the number one way kids learn, is by imitation.

I was introducing a group of girl scouts to jumping rope and how to run into it while it’s moving and then start jumping. One at a time, each girl positioned themselves to run in; studying the rhythm of the rope, trying to decide the optimal time to go for it. Their facial expressions showed fear, determination, interest, hesitation, and courage. One girl stood at the ready, nervous but determined, waiting for courage to kick in. Her mom felt uncomfortable seeing her daughter so hesitant, so she ran into the moving jump rope and said: “Look, it’s easy, just do it like this.”

Immediately, this girl’s face crumbled. She folded her arms, walked off, sat against the wall, defeated, and would not try again.

This was such a lesson for me. That sometimes, our competence can actually drain the confidence right out of our kids.

If we want our kids to do new and scary things, what helps them isn’t telling them about our successes, but about our failures.  Instead of telling them about how you worked two jobs and got your license at 16, tell them about the D you got in Geometry and had to go to summer school for. Share that embarrassing story about asking that guy to prom who never actually answered you. Conjuring up your past mistakes and sharing them, might be just the thing your son needs to challenge himself.

Better yet, let him see you trying something new. Have him teach you how to use SnapChat. Let him laugh at your ineptitude at his favorite video game. Or, use this opportunity to pursue something you have dreamt of doing but haven’t had the chance.

Thinking about starting a side-hustle? Now is a great time. Have you been wanting to cut out sugar, carbs, or meat? Why not try it now? Sign up for that half marathon. Start that club you’ve been wanting to start. Budget. Meditate. Make sure it’s something personally challenging to you so he can watch you struggle and stumble. This is THE best way you can help your son. It takes your attention off of him and gives you compassion, remembering that change isn’t as easy as it seems.

Supermom kryptonite: Futurizing & Catastrophizng

Futurizing doesn’t sound like a bad idea, “Isn’t it good to be thinking about and preparing for the future?”  Yes, we like to know what to expect, but many people only envision the worst case scenario (catastrophizing). Our brains can’t tell the difference between a real life catastrophic situation, and the imaginary one we create in our mind. We react as though the terrible thing we’re imagining is actually going to happen.

Try this, keep the worst case scenario in mind, but, just for fun, imagine the best possible scenario in the same detail as you did for your worst case. The vision in your head will be wrong either way, but it is much more enjoyable to imagine everything going perfectly. Now try imagining the funniest case scenario. Then, the weirdest. Then, the most boring. Choose to imagine the one that feels the best to you.

It’s easier to have a life coach help you separate your current, present reality, from your catastrophic future but this will get you started. Your imagination is something you control, why not put it to good use?

Supermom power boostCompassion.

When we recognize that our frustration is really about us and our fears, we can let it go and make room for compassion. Compassion is a wonderful emotion but we can’t access it when we are trying not to feel embarrassed or think that we have failed as a mom. Accept that your child will NEVER live up to his potential but you get to decide how you want to feel about him while he is struggling, learning, growing, failing and succeeding. Love and compassion are always great options that feel good. Embarrassment and shame will not give you the result you want, which is to feel like a good mom.

Quote of the Day: “We change, we grow up, we fuck up, we love, we hurt, we’re teenagers. We’re still learning.” – By Unknown Author

“When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog, so that someone in the house is happy to see you.” Nora Ephron

Go to www.lifecoachingforparents.com/work-with-me if you want help with your teen.

When a Chore Chart Doesn’t Work

Episode 6 – How to make a chore chart work

Today’s question:

I’ve tried chore charts in the past, but I have a hard time keeping up with them.

I let things slide, but then it bothers me that my kids don’t help out more around the house.

My older kid is more cooperative than the younger, so I end up asking him to do more work. He complains about the inequity and he’s totally right.

I get so tired of the negotiating and complaining when I ask my daughter to do a simple little task. My current system is unfair and unhelpful. How can I make a chore chart that sticks?   Melinda

The Parent Education Answer: 

When chore charts have the most success, it’s because it fits with the personality of the parent or of the kid(s).

Some people love the sense of satisfaction they get from checking a box, the pride from displaying their accomplishments, and the predictability of what is expected of them.

If this sounds like you or your kiddo and external validation is something you value, by all means, create a system and commit to it.

Even if it wanes after a month or two, that’s okay. Just create a new one and enjoy the novelty.

Allow the kids to have input on any adjustments to it.

Most parenting experts suggest not tying chores to allowance but instead reinforcing the child’s role in being a responsible member of the household.

If your kids are reluctant, you may need to provide an incentive like no screen time until chores are complete, or a reward once completed.

Sometimes a chore chart can make a kid want to rebel against it.

“Brag boards” are an alternative where your child gets to post and boast about the chores they have completed.

If you like the chore chart but your kid doesn’t, keep it for yourself as a way to stay organized, but find other motivation for your kid that works for them.

The life coaching answer:

What you’ve got here is a classic example of cognitive dissonance.

This means you have two competing beliefs going on at the same time.

Part of you places a strong value with kids helping out with household chores. The other part of you doesn’t want to negotiate and argue every time you want your daughter to empty the dishwasher.

When we are in cognitive dissonance, any system we implement is doomed to fail.

Your kids will sense your lack of conviction, “forget” to do their chore or talk their way out it. The only way to get a chore chart to work is to decide and commit to it.

Before you declare anything out loud, you’ve got to be clear inside yourself.

Right now, when you think about asking your kids to do chores, how do you feel?

My guess is tired, annoyed, burdened, or some other negative emotion. These emotions cause moms to act inconsistently and sabotage their own chore charts.

The first step is to accept things you have no control over. It sounds like your daughter likes to argue and negotiate. This is just part of her personality, so we need to let that go. Kids don’t generally like doing chores, so let’s not pin our hopes on some magic chore chart that will make them eager workers.

The next step is to decide which of your competing values gets top priority.

What is more important to you?

1. To never argue and negotiate with your daughter

2. To distribute the chores to both kids equitably

3. To have your children contribute to household chores

Which one will you be more proud of in the long run?

If you choose #3, you need to commit to this.

Be proud of your choice. Decide that this is more important and that no matter how much push back you get, it’s for a good cause.

If you incorporate a chore chart, do it with joy and determination.

How you feel about your chore chart is more important than anything else.

Decide you are going to love it.

Decide that it doesn’t have to last forever.

Prepare yourself for arguing, but plan ahead of time to just smile and point at the chart.

You will be amazed at how much more energy you have when you aren’t arguing with yourself inside your head.

Supermom Kryptonite: Open Loops

One of the reasons motherhood drains so many of us, is we are never done.

The tasks are circular, and it’s hard to get a sense of accomplishment.

This makes it even more important that we close as many loops as we can.

Having open loops, or things in our head that we need to make decisions on, follow up on, and complete, is exhausting.

To free up your energy, ask yourself every day: “What is weighing on my mind?” or “What am I trying not to think about?”.

Whatever your answer is to these questions, find a way to close the loop on the issue.

If it’s kids and chores, make a decision and stick with it.

If it’s a conversation you’ve been avoiding, have it and resolve it.

The more decisions you make ahead of time, the more energy, creativity and mental clarity you will have.

Supermom Power Boost: Softening

This is counter-intuitive because we think tension gives us power, and it does in a way.

Think of a runner in the starting blocks of a race.

Their body is tense, and ready to explode into action. After the race they relax and their body softens.

The problem with Supermoms, is the race never ends.

This is not a healthy way to live; we need rest and relaxation time.

Since many Supermoms struggle with this, I’ve found a short cut called “softening”.

Think about something that causes you tension, find the tension in your body, and physically soften it.

Eventually we’ll need to get the brain on board, but this is a quick first step.

This will give you energy because it’s more aligned with how our bodies are designed: to spend lots of time in rest and relaxation.

Quote of the Day

“Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you are.” Chinese Proverb

Would you like help with prioritizing your values and creating more rest and relaxation? Sign up for a free discovery call at www.lifecoachingforparents.com/work-with-me

 

 

How to set boundaries with kid’s screen time?

Episode #5 “How to set boundaries with kid’s screen time”

Today’s question: “The cell phone and video game use in my house are getting out of control. How can I set boundaries with my kids that they will actually follow? I’m ready to throw the damn phones out the window.” Maggie

What is a boundary? A lot of parents confuse setting boundaries with telling kids what to do.

Think of it like the property line of a house.

“My neighbors can do whatever they want. It’s not my business how they talk to their kids or yell at their dog. It becomes my business if their dog poops on my lawn.”

Setting boundaries is all about what to do when a boundary is violated.

“I get to decide if I want to offer a poop bag, yell at the dog, put up a sign, etc. My neighbor can let his dog poop on my lawn every day if he wants, he just needs to face the consequences. Maybe I’ll put his photo of him and his dog and post it around the neighborhood.”

The point is that setting boundaries is about deciding what to do, not telling someone else what to do.

Parent Education Answer: Setting boundaries around screen time is about defining what your limits are, and what you will do when they get violated.

Hating on the phone and wishing it would go away is not helpful. Instead, become really clear about what the rules are and make sure you can stick to them every time.

What can I stick to with 100% conviction? 

Phones downstairs charging at bed time

No phones at the dinner table.

Keep location permissions on.

Text Mom back right away.

No video games on school nights.

It’s very similar to your kid running into the street. The message we send our kids is, “I will stop you every time until you stop yourself.”

Mom is 100% predictable, confident, and convicted. It’s easy for you to enforce stopping your kid from running into the street, because it’s in line with your values, and because you aren’t also running into the street.

If you want to make sure your kids respect and obey your rules, don’t set them unless you have these 5 things in place:

Clarity – Make it clear and obvious; avoid vague words. 

Conviction – Every single time anyone brings their phones to dinner, they will be asked to put them away. 

Calm Confidence – Watch your voice tone, eye contact, and posture. Make sure your request is aligned with your values.

Consequences – Everyone should know what the consequences will be before the rule gets broken.

Continual Reinforcement – Make sure your rule applies to everyone in the family, every single time.

When you designate a house rule that everyone obeys, your job gets much easier. As kids approach adolescents they are going to push back on your rules, especially if they see you getting to do something they want to do! If Dad gets to play Xbox on a school night or Mom sleeps with her phone next to her bed, your child is going to argue for the same privilege.

Expect kids to violate our rules around screen time and have a plan in place on what YOU will do, WHEN they break the rule. Decide your consequences ahead of time…”If you violate this rule, I will….”

  • Give your phone to the neighbors for two days.
  • Hide the Xbox controllers for the weekend.
  • Stop paying your cell phone bill. 
  • Increase parental restrictions on phone.
  • Delete your snapchat app. 

Life Coaching Answer: The problem comes when parents think….

“I just want it to go away” “I don’t want to deal” “I’m afraid of his reaction” “She’s not going to listen anyway” “He should just know better” “I shouldn’t have to deal with this”

This self-defeating chatter will really get in the way of you setting boundaries with your kid’s screen time. Take out your journal, and write all the thoughts that come up for you when you think about setting limits. Notice how you feel and act when you think these thoughts. Make sure you aren’t trying to set boundaries from this negative energy. Ask yourself, “What would I need to think in order to set clear, consistent rules around screen time?” 

Thoughts like “I got this” or “This is important to me” can be very helpful.

Trying to controll your thoughts is always difficult. Schedule a free life coaching session at www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/work-with-me for help!

 

Supermom Kryptonite: Avoiding reality and putting our head in the sand can drain our energy. PRETENDING like something isn’t bothering you will wear you down. It’s a lot like clutter in your house. Just thinking about our clutter makes us feel heavy and tired. Thinking about getting rid of stuff, donating, or throwing it away, makes us feel lighter. There are invisible energy drains that weigh us down, even if we can’t see them. A good way to counter this is to ask yourself this question every morning in your journal: “Is there anything that’s weighing on my mind that I’m trying not to think about.”

 

Supermom Power Boost: Clarity. Know who you are and what you want. Know what your values and goals are. It makes decisions easier. It is energizing to know what you want and where you are headed.

 

Quote of the Day: “I allow myself to set healthy boundaries. To say no to what does not align with my values, to say yes to what does. Boundaries assist me in remaining healthy, honest and living a life that is true to me.” Lee Horbachewski

 

Want to ask Torie a question? go to www.lifecoachingforparents.com/record-my-question