Terry Manrique, owner of Working With Parents, reached out to me with the idea of working together when I was in the middle of some frustrating patterns with my kids. I got her message and immediately clicked to her website and read this paragraph: “Our ideal clients are parents who are exhausted by the day-to-day challenges of raising children from toddlers to adolescence. They face battles at every turn, whether it’s meal-time, snacks, bed time, nap time, sibling rivalry, back-talk, temper tantrums, and so forth. They love their children, want the best for them, and know there has to be a better way.”
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That was me! So after an initial meeting, Terry and I began partnering together and she has provided me with individual coaching sessions over the phone. Terry has also written a book called Revive Your Parenting, C.P.R. for Parents, which I have read and we have discussed as “homework” for our sessions!
Today, I am sharing 3 tips I have learned from my sessions with her and from reading her book.
C.P.R. stands for Compassion, Patience and Respect: 3 traits we want to exhibit when parenting our children. Some of these tips might seem like common sense, but I found that even though they sounded like good ideas I had heard before, I wasn’t really practicing them. Implementing these ideas on a consistent basis has helped us have a more peaceful household!
1. Proximity and Touch
In one of my coaching sessions, I was telling Terry that I feel like I have to ask my kids 100 times to do something and they just don’t do it. It was making me feel disrespected and angry. She asked me, “Where are you when you ask them to do something?” I had to think about it for a minute. I said, “usually in the same room, I guess.” She recommended getting up and going over to stand or kneel next to them, making sure they were making eye contact and touching them on the shoulder when making my request.
Terry pointed out to me that kids, especially boys, are singularly focused. When I’m asking them to do something while they’re in the middle of something else, it is very hard for them to really hear me and to shift focus.
Wow. If there is one parenting tip that has really made a difference for me, this is it. So simple, but so effective. I’ve been shocked how many times that I have implemented this tactic and my kids have looked at me and said, “Ok.” and gone and done what I asked. You could have knocked me over with a feather!
2. Predicting Behavior and Explaining Consequences
This tip takes a little more time and planning. It involves predicting your child’s behavior ahead of time and laying out the consequences that will result if they do the behavior you are expecting. I’ll give you one of my very specific examples. My son loves drumming. It never fails at dinner time that he will pick up pencils or something else to drum with on the table. Then I will ask him 50 times to stop drumming, threaten to take away the sticks and end up getting in a battle of wills.
In this instance, I know what behavior is likely to happen at the table before we even sit down. Terry suggested I say something like this: “Jaden, we’re going to be eating soon and when it’s time to eat, you’re going to put your pencils right here on the side while we eat. When we’re done you can have them back. Do you understand? If you choose to keep drumming, I will take them away for the rest of the day.”
In this situation, I am giving him the opportunity to make better choices and giving him a consequence he understands. It is not a surprise, he knows in advance what the consequence will be if he drums on the table during dinner and I am being proactive at curbing the unwanted behavior.
3. Build Time in Your Schedule so that You Can Remain Patient
This tip is so simple when I say it out loud, but one I RARELY implement because I always seem to be running late or waiting until the very last minute to leave the house. The “P” in C.P.R. is one of my most challenging virtues: Patience. I lose patience with my 3 year old when I need him to get his shoes and coat on or get in his carseat or when we need to leave somewhere at a certain time. A lot of this stress could be avoided and it would be easier for me to be patient with him if I built more time into our schedule. Instead of swooping down on him 1 minute before we need to walk out the door, I need to plan ahead and give us 5-10 extra minutes to get out the door and into the car on time.
I can’t tell you how many instances where I have ended up stressed and less than patient that could have been better executed if I had just started earlier. Actually, I probably don’t have to tell you – you already know! 😉 Kids are dawdlers and they are not operating on our timetable. Giving our own selves time as parents makes it easier for us to be patient with our kids in these moments!
Terry’s book, Revive Your Parenting, C.P.R. for Parents is a quick read but it is packed with wisdom! At only 94 pages, it is a book you can read in a weekend or less. I’ve started a lot of parenting books in the last few months and this is the only one I’ve finished!
Terry Manrique is an Expert Parent & Relationship Coach with 20+ years of experience in the field of Early Childhood Education. After working 17 years as a teacher and Program Director at a private, art integrated early childhood education center, she decided to start her business April 2011 coaching families in their homes. As the successful owner of Working with Parents, LLC, Terry has helped countless families across the United States improve and transform their relationships using her C.P.R. for Parents philosophy, a variety of parenting methods and proven behavior management practices. See her full bio here.
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