Recently, I’ve found myself sitting across from parents watching confusion, relief, and excitement flash across their faces when I tell them “Yes, you can__________.” That moment when they are liberated from whatever constraints or preconceived ideas they had regarding how they should or should not be parenting never gets old for me. I live for that moment. It’s a lightbulb moment when something they’ve done forever suddenly looks different in such a good way.
I’m not sure how or why we get into these ruts, but I know we all do. Maybe it’s a book that suggested we do things a certain way or maybe it’s someone we know and love. Maybe we are scared. Maybe it’s how we were raised. Maybe we just don’t know how else to do it.
Regardless, anything and everything can change. As long as our children are at the heart of the movement, as long as we center this around them, then we can do anything any way. The following are real life examples from real families who made real changes that were right for them. You can too!
Yes, you can…….
Put your child to bed early.
Let him have a tantrum by himself in his room.
Hold her until she calms down.
Offer incentives to improve behavior.
Expect him to have responsibilities.
Decide not to make another dinner if she doesn’t like the one you gave her.
Let him make a peanut butter sandwich for dinner instead.
Expect your children to stay in their chairs at mealtimes.
Make the after school snack “dinner” and dinner a “snack.”
Say no to the 10th book.
Hold her a few minutes more at bedtime.
Sit next to the crib and hold his hand.
Walk out of the room and turn off the monitor.
Do you see the theme? Exactly. There isn’t one. This is real life. What works for one might not work for the other. What’s most important is that we are checked in, not to the book or to the technique, but to our kids. What are they asking for? What do they need from us?
Answer that. And, yes, you can.
Find the joy,
Jessica McCauley, M.Ed. is a parenting coach/consultant. She draws on her background as a Montessori educator and Child Life Specialist to help families navigate the challenges of the early childhood years. Contact Jessica at http://smallhandsbigsteps.com/contact/ for more information or to schedule a consultation.