052: “… then we are all in a bad mood because we had to yell.”: A Your Child Explained Episode

Today, listener Lindsay channels the thoughts we all have on those days in which our kids refuse to listen. Lindsay writes “it’s not like after a few asks we don’t make him do it; we do and then we’re all in a bad mood because we had to yell. It’s stuff like getting dressed or coming to eat dinner. What is an old-school way to get him to just do what he has to do? Or is this just what parenting is all about?”

In this Your Child Explained episode, where we always try to understand what’s going on in the minds of our young kids, we jump into how to give our kids a sense of independence and control over their own lives – so they don’t end up living in our basement when they’re 35 – while preserving our sanity.

Click here for the full notes on this episode!

Lindsay’s questions are, I’m sure, questions that you’ve had; they were certainly questions that I had when my two boys were small. (Okay, still do sometimes.)

I think it helps to remember that all kids do this, it’s a developmental stage, necessary to becoming an independent and capable adult. Childhood is a marathon, not a sprint, and here is my virtual hug to you as you support your young children through this marathon!

Lindsay specifically mentions “getting dressed or coming to eat dinner;” two of many transition times during a child’s day. Kids have very little knowledge of how time works, and – just like anybody – really hate to be interrupted when they’re engaged in something that they love. Here are two ideas for helping ease the transition times:

  • try and put the upcoming transition on their horizon; in the case of getting ready for dinner, this works really well if you ask them to do a job that they love to do that has something to do with getting ready for dinner; my kids always loved to peel garlic and would come running from wherever they were in the house to do this beloved job
  • use the ninja tactic First, Then: go to them, get down on their level, and say something along the lines of “first, it’s time to get dressed, and then you can get back to playing with the Lego; which shirt would you like to wear, this one, or that one?”
    • In this episode I give detailed instructions for how I’ve made a First, Then chart, which requires clear contact paper, a few pieces of printer paper, and Velcro adhesive tape; my goal is to make a video of this so you can see how I do it, but for now if you listen to the episode at least you can hear how I do it 🙂

Remembering the long game (marathon, not sprint), that kids assert themselves because they must, even though it’s rarely pretty, and that you are not alone can help keep your spirits up. We old-school parents are all right there with you!

Key Links:

To listen to episode 51, with awesome guest Joel Boggess of the Relaunch Podcast, click here.

Here’s the link to download a free chapter of my forthcoming book, Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics, at positivedisciplineninjatactics.com! You are going to love this book, because it’s all about the ninja tactics we talk about in the podcast; in fact it came up today because of First, Then.

Also, I made you a present! Click here to find the link for the 9 1/2 Key Resources for Old-School Parents.