We all want to parent our kids in the best way possible. We want to be kind, loving and firm. Yet, so often, our parenting seems to happen in a blur. We are tired, our kids are tired, and then we say the wrong thing and then you find yourself embroiled in a power struggle, yelling or just totally exasperated with our kids.
I find that sometimes it helps to have “catch phrases” at my fingertips. Phrases that I can use often and in all situations. Here are some of those phrases that I find to be so helpful:
Phrases to help discipline your children:
“I am sure you didn’t mean to…forget to wash the dishes.”
“This is so not like you…you are usually responsible about bringing in your bicycle.”
These phrases help your child save face. It is hard to listen to criticism; this allows them to hear you and still believe that they are intrinsically good. It also helps us as parents. When we stop to say, “I am sure you didn’t mean to we actually start to believe it. Kids generally don’t misbehave because they are doing it on purpose to get us angry. They make mistakes or misbehave because they are kids and they often don’t know any better. In this light, our children’s transgression shrink to normal proportions. It calms us down and then we can then discipline effectively.
Phrases to Promote Peace:
“Our family strives to support each other.”
“Teasing hurts feelings.”
“Hands to yourselves!”
“You have the superior capacity to be kind, use it!”
“Six people living in the same house, six different personalities, six different people wanting six different things, it can be tough…”
I find these phrases to be invaluable because there is nothing more frustrating or exhausting then when your children are fighting. It is at those times that I find I want to just get in the fray and yell along with them. Instead, I try to use the above phrases, which help me stay and sound sane. They are also mini mission statements about how you want your children to conduct themselves with each other. Do they work to stop the fighting? Not always, but it does help me stay calm.
Phrases to deal with disrespectful behavior:
“I know you know how to be respectful…”
“You can change your tone to be more respectful”
Kids are usually disrespectful because they are angry about a limit that you have set, they are disappointed and take it out on you, or because they are just downright cranky. Again, they are not out to get us angry. When we use these phrases, we show our kids we know that they have it in them to be respectful and they can turn their negative behavior around. They also help us stay calm and not sucked into a power struggle.
Phrases that help avoid accusations and blaming:
“We are a family that focuses on solutions…”
“We don’t accuse we focus on solutions…”
Oftentimes when they milk spills, the dog hasn’t been fed, or the back door has been left open, we can get pretty upset with our kids. It doesn’t help to yell, accuse or blame. We just need to get our family to focus on solutions: get a rag, feed the dog, and close the door. This phrase helps us move past the anger and straight to solving the problems. I find these especially helpful because I have a tendency to dwell on what has gone wrong instead of just fixing it.
So there you have it! Great phrases to help you parent kindly, lovingly and calmly!