The Gruff-Love Approach To Behaviour Management
Please find following a tongue-in-cheek article which I hope makes you smile as well as gets you thinking. The advice following is not meant to be taken seriously. If you think of the opposite of what I am advising below, you will identify what really works. Here it is ...
Please find following a tongue-in-cheek article which I hope makes you smile as well as gets you thinking. The advice following is not meant to be taken seriously. If you think of the opposite of what I am advising below, you will identify what really works. Here it is:
Those parenting experts make me sick! They talk about changing what you do as a parent to get better behaviour. Don't they know it is the children who are the problem! You may have heard of the Tough Love approach to parenting? Well, here is the new, improved Gruff-Love approach to addressing rat-bag behaviour.
The first is love and limits - but only one or the other please. If you just give them lots of love and no limits, this may result in children who never learn that there are consequences. But at least you won't have to worry about speaking to them about their behaviour.
You can also go to the other extreme - just doing a lot of limit-setting and no loving. Sure this may result in a very strained and distant relationship with your child. But, hey, kids need to have limits! Whatever you do, don't strive for a balance between love and limits as this is only confusing to the child concerned.
A good way to set limits set is by giving a lot of criticism. Sure those parenting experts will tell you to have 10 times more positive interactions than occasions where you are giving constructive feedback. But doesn't it make sense that if you tell your child lots of times what they are doing wrong, that they will then know what they need to fix?
This leads onto my second tip - to stick to your plan. Don't worry about what your partner thinks. It can be a lot of fun balancing your partner with one of you doing the limit-setting and the other doing the loving part. This will give you both someone else to criticise apart from the children. You can tell your partner they are being too soft or too hard on the children - you can take your pick. After a while, your children will enjoy playing one of you off against the other.
Remember, if you disagree with your partner's approach, you are best to do so in front of the children. It is much better to be up-front. You can then lecture your partner why things would only be easier if they followed your example. You will only spoil the fun if you agree to disagree with your opinions and agree on what you will both do in the future.
My third tip is to let your children know that your love for them is dependent on their behaviour. When they don't behave the way you would like, either let them have the full force of your disapproval or refuse to talk to them for long periods. Some might call this sulking, but I call it letting them know how you feel about them. Eventually, they will get the message. Avoid just criticising their behaviour. Instead find some appropriate words to describe them as a person - selfish, hopeless, and inconsiderate, you get the idea.
Number four on my list is to trust your initial judgement. Resist the urge to find kinder explanations for their behaviour - that they are unwell or tired, worried about something, or, God forbid, that you are contributing in some way! If you change the way you explain their behaviour, this in turn will affect how you respond. If your partner tries to explain your child's bad behaviour in a kinder way, hold onto your view that your son or daughter is intentionally pushing your buttons. There is only one way to see a situation after all - your way.
My fifth tip is to respond immediately to bad behaviour. If you start thinking before you speak, you may find yourself cutting your child slack or finding a 'less hurtful' way to say something. Get over it! Speak from your emotions! It is more important to get it out, it doesn't matter how it sounds. If you are lucky, your partner will join in and before you know it you will have a game the whole family can play.
The sixth way to respond to challenging behaviour is giving consequences - preferably ones that are extremely strong or meaningless to the child concerned. It doesn't matter if your child or partner thinks you are over-reacting or your child doesn't care about the consequences. You will at least feel good.
Don't think about what your child cares about and link this to the behaviour concerned - this is too much hard work. Some would say that warnings and reminders are a good idea or using a scale of consequences, but I suggest you bring out the heavy artillery straight away. Resist also the soft approach of finding a good time to speak with the child concerned, explaining why the behaviour is a problem, and what you would prefer to see. Soft, soft, soft!
Number seven on my list is to have a plan for dealing with continued or worsened misbehaviour. Those experts would suggest putting yourself out of button-pushing reach for a period, to tag-team your partner, or enlist the support of others. I think a better plan for dealing with the button-pushing of teenagers is to push their buttons in return and make them suffer for treating you this way. If they escalate their behaviour, show them you can go one better.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
About the Author: Ken Warren is a Relationships Expert who can show you how to turn difficult customers and co-workers into pussycats, make great teams even better, and achieve better outcomes with challenging clients. Check out his free resources at Positive People Solutions.