“PICK and CHOOSE” your Battles
Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs EVER! Every decision you are thinking how is this going to help my child or not. Every parent will make mistakes along the way, and that is what it is since your child wasn’t born with a manual. I keep hearing parents telling me how hard it is to be consistent, after I tell them that what I feel is the most important thing to parenting is being consistent. Then the guilt starts to take over since it is impossible to always be consistent. As a parent you are allowed to “Pick and Choose” your battles. Does it matter if your child brushes his teeth before he puts on his pjs or after as long as he gets it done? Are you stuck on things being a certain way versus letting your child lead the way with the order they want the things to do be done?
I understand that there are days when it is just one of those days and your child isn’t listening to you, it is beyond overwhelming. What are you going to do? If you are already in a bad mood, does it make sense to pick every battle as you know in your mind you have to follow through since consistency is KEY! Being consistent means following through with what you ask your child to do such as brushing his/her teeth or putting their shoes away where they belong when they come into the house after you ask them. The best one is when you ask your child to “Clean Up” and then you end up cleaning up after them since you are too tired to keep on them to do what you asked them to do. You leave the situation upset, and you also taught your child they don’t have to listen to you.
What to do…
1. Permission To “Pick and Choose”
Give yourself permission to not pick every battle with your child. Maybe keep the toys on the floor until the next day so when you ask them to clean up you can follow through. You are still teaching them they have to listen to you and they need to be responsible for their behavior as well as you aren’t cleaning up after them. Also, telling your child that you had a hard day and you don’t want to fight with them. Sometimes children will surprise you and will do things on their own without you asking if they know you are in that mood, which happens to all of us.
2. Make a schedule
Have your child make their own schedule for the morning and bedtime routine. You can make the schedule personal for them and take pictures of them doing each thing on the schedule. Once they are done with the item on the list they can check it off. This helps them feel a level of an accomplishment and the parent only has to remind them to “Check Schedule” instead of asking them to do every item on the list 20 times, which is beyond taxing.
3. Letting go
This is really hard for anyone to do with anything in their life. Being able to take a step back and ask yourself if you can do things differently is something we should do in life in all areas. Does it really matter the order the morning routine or the bedtime routine takes place? Does it matter that they have to clean up before they eat? Sometimes parents start to get in a battle over things that are really small and once this happens some children take it to the next level. Look and see what you can let go and ask your child “How do you want to get things done so it gets done?”. See what they come up with. Your child might start to do what you have been asking them to do over and over again once they feel they have some control in the situation and they helped come up with a plan.
If this isn’t working you can contact me for a home visit. I would love to help!
By Vanessa Kahlon MA
Founder & Executive Director of KFS School