Amy McCready, author of “If I Have to Tell You One More Time … The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging Reminding or Yelling,” gave us numerous positive parenting solutions for common family situations during a Talk in The Motherhood today.
“MY VISION FOR YOU … that you can’t even remember the last time you raised your voice,” said Amy McCready. “Not saying that we’ll never yell. We ARE human! But, I want you to have to think long and hard about the last time you raised your voice.”
Here are the top parenting challenge areas that surfaced during the Talk, and the best advice for handling them:
1. How Can I Get Started?
“Being a parent can be hard and discipline can take a lot of practice and thought. Giving yourself time to learn and figure out the parent you want to be is the best thing you can do now [with babies and very young kids],” said Polly Schlafhauser, founder and president of Families With Purpose.
2. How Can I Discipline without Time Outs?
Amy McCready recently hosted a webinar on Why Times Outs Are a Waste of Time.
For a different take, “When my son was little, we did ‘hug-it-out Time Outs,'” said Katie Bugbee, managing editor of Care.com. “We held him tight and counted to 30 every time he did something bad (hitting, being out of control). In most cases, he just needed to calm his body – and we needed to help him do that.”
3. How Can I Get My Kids to Do Chores without Nagging?
“One thing I did was to share the ownership of the chores rather than be the keeper of the list,” said Polly Schlafhauser. “I now use a big dry erase board hanging in a very central spot where EVERYONE can see it.”
“WHEN-THEN routines work SO well,” added Amy McCready. “WHEN the yucky stuff is done – THEN you can do the more fun parts of your daily routine. Don’t forget to place a deadline on the when-then routine when it is appropriate.”
4. How Can I Eliminate Whining?
“Remember that kids continue doing what WORKS! If the behavior (whining) gets your attention – they’ll keep doing it!” Amy pointed out. “The best strategy is to IGNORE WHINING. Practice using a calm voice – but in the moment when she’s whining – IGNORE!!!”
5. How Can I Convince Them to Stop Telling Tall Tales?
“Depends on why he’s lying,” said Amy McCready. “If it’s to get out of trouble – be sure that your discipline methods are focused on ‘learning’ rather than blame, shame and pain. Sometimes they tell tall-tales. You can say… ‘Hmmm, that sounds interesting. Can you tell me more about what really happened?'”
6. How Can I Enforce Getting Homework Done?
“We require them to set goals for the grades they thought were appropriate in each subject if they gave 110%. After they set their goals, we promised to not nag them or follow up with them as long as they met their goals or came to us and told us they were having trouble,” said Polly Schlafhauser. “As long as they met their goals, they get to keep their cell phones. If they don’t meet their goals then they lose their phones.”
7. How Can I Make Them Stop Misbehaving?
“I usually get in their face and make them separate themselves,” said Kelly Lester, singer, actress and CEO of Easy Lunchboxes. “They hate that, so they usually stop the indoor wildness if it means they can’t play together anymore.”
Jodi Hitchcock suggested, “Make a point of having active time every day at the same time. About a half hour before lunch either bundle up and play outside or go for a walk. If the weather is not appropriate then turn on some music and have a crazy dance party in doors. Whatever it is, let them get all those wiggles out!!”
“Believe it or not – it has nothing to do with a consequence!!” replied Amy McCready. “It is spending 1-on-1 time with your kids on a daily basis filling their attention baskets. We call it Mind, Body & Soul Time. Honestly – do this daily and you’ll see misbehavior start to fall off the radar screen!”
8. How Can I Defuse a Tantrum?
“‘Forcing’ kids to go [to their rooms] can be counter productive – it’s better to remove YOURSELF from the room – disengage while he’s throwing a tantrum,” said Amy McCready.
Amy also shared a link with free articles and resources on specific strategies for dealing with tantrums.
9. How Can I Get Them to Clean Their Rooms?
Amy McCready suggested two strategies: “1) Use a when-then routine. WHEN your room is clean – then we’ll leave for soccer. 2) Our rule is that rooms have to be cleaned up by 5 PM. Anything that’s left lying on the floor, etc. – will go into a box and be unavailable for the next week.”
Added Kelly Lester, “I just told my 14 year old that she’s going nowhere unless I see a non-asked for general cleanliness improvement on a daily basis. NOT just when she wants to go somewhere!”
10. How Can I Encourage Them to Take Responsibility?
“My husband created a chart to remind our boys of some simple household rules,” said staciebuesing. “If you turn it on turn it off….If you mess it up clean it up….If you open it close it….”
“Love it – visual reminders are so helpful so you don’t have to NAG!!!!” replied Amy McCready.
11. Why Don’t My Kids Respond to Discipline the Same Way?
“I feel like parenting is like playing a video game. Once you feel like you’ve mastered one level (kid) along comes another with totally new challenges that you have to decipher!” said Becki.
“Remember there aren’t ‘blanket consequences’ [for misbehavior],” said Amy McCready. “You pick the tool that will be most helpful for that behavior.”
12. The Most Important Takeaway
“UNIVERSAL TRUTH…kids have a HARD-WIRED NEED for emotional connection and POSITIVE attention,” said Amy McCready. “If we don’t fill their attention basket DAILY with individual time and attention – they’ll get our attention but in NEGATIVE WAYS – whining, tantrums, power struggles, etc.”
“Over the holidays, my husband and I had ‘dates’ with our son. It was so much fun for everyone.. but we had to hire a sitter to get the time alone with just him,” said Katie Bugbee. “Right now, our 1:1 time comes at bedtime.. when one of us snuggles with one of them.”
Amy McCready, author, “If I Have to Tell You One More Time…” and founder of Positive Parenting Solutions
Polly Schlafhauser, founder and president, Families With Purpose
Jen Singer, Momma Said
Katie Bugbee, managing editor, Care.com
Jennifer Zaranis, senior manager for national marketing, The Mommies Network
Kelly Lester, singer, actress, CEO of Easy Lunchboxes
Be sure to check out the full Talk transcript here.