Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"The Look"

I love after dinner conversations!

Recently we were enjoying one of these,
maybe it was Mother's Day, I am not sure.
Anyway, the time is not important.
What came out of it may be helpful to
someone.

When the children were young and likely
to get tired and cranky in a public place
I developed a "look" that I would give
them that meant "Behave! Now!"
They knew there would be consequences
when we got home if that look did not
change an attitude or a behavior.

I had all but forgotten about it but
Jonathan mentioned it during this conversation.
He said it went straight through him.
It got his attention and he did not like
"the look"! I guess that is why I did not
have to use it much with him.

I attempted to recreate it, but it is not
something I can force.
It had to be sincere.
We all laughed at my sad attempts to
"look mean".

The reason I mention this is for the parents
of young children who find taking them
places unpredictable and stressful.

It does not have to be that way.

Many times children act out in public
because they know you aren't going to
be quick to punish them there.

Note: Punishment does not have to involve
physical pain. The carrying out of the consequences of
discipline does not have to happen on the spot.
As soon as your child is old enough to know right
from wrong they can learn this technique.

If you have an established consequence that is
"painful enough" such as removal of a favorite
toy for a day...or something else that will
prompt the preferred behaviors, all that will
be necessary is that look from you and that
whiny child will find it within themselves to
grasp control and stop the negative behaviors.

You know your child and what his or her triggers are.

If you do not have that secret look established,
now is the time. It will save you and your child so
much anguish. Choose the consequence.
Make it one that matters to your child!
Forewarn your child what "that look" means.

Save "the look" for major infractions. Don't use it for
things that you can correct by conversations on the spot,
but believe me, if you need it...use it!

Follow through!!!!! If you have to use the look and your
child does not straighten up...DO enforce the agreed upon
consequences! Otherwise, you are going to have to work
twice as hard to earn their respect.

So many times I have wanted to pull an obviously
stressed mother over for a one-to-one parenting
consultation right there in the store. It breaks
my heart to see children stomping all over their
parents, so to speak.
I know I cannot do this,
but it doesn't keep me from wanting to!

I tried to remember to tell the children when
they were behaving well. Letting them know what
attitudes and behaviors were desired. Sometimes
we forget that we are still teaching them in
everything we do and every activity. They are
learning how to "be" in this world.
It is so easy for us to get so caught up in
the things we need to get done to push our
children mentally to the side.

I also liked to occasionally offer a positive.
Maybe a treat from the candy at the register
or something special later in the day.
However, be careful with this because I
have heard way too many parents go back on this after
there has been bad behavior and give the "treat" anyway.
Example: Jr. was pitching a fit at the register
and this was the one time that Mom or Dad
could not persevere.

Parenting young ones is a real blessing.

Parenting young ones is a real challenge.

May God richly bless those of you who are in this
stage of your life.
Love those young ones with lots of hugs, kisses,
and discipline.

2 comments:

Mrs. Rabe said...

Oh yeah! Please parents be in control of your kids and not let the kids control you. It isn't loving to let them think that the world revolves around them!

Great post Becky!

BittersweetPunkin said...

Ah yes..the following through part is the important part...I hear way too many parent repeat themselves over and over with empty threats.....

Hugs to you,
Robin