We are having a rough time with this too!!! I just read Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline
, and although I had some issues with it
, I did learn this framework that so far seems to be very effective:
"You wanted X, so you did Y. You may not do Y. Instead, when you want X, do Z. Try that now."
Also, she suggests describing the child's behavior, saying, "You seem [emotion].", and then pausing to let the child respond. For example: "You are yelling and stomping your feet. You seem angry." I feel kind of silly doing this, but it seems pretty effective at conveying to my son that I'm paying attention to him and aware of his feelings, not just thinking about my own feelings and how they're affected by his behavior.
Speaking of which, EnviroKid is backtalking, yelling, and saying mean things to his father more often and more extremely than to me, and I think part of the reason is that EnviroDaddy is hyper-sensitive to tone of voice and just leaps to criticize it, often treating it as a more important issue than whatever that voice was saying. Since long before we became parents, it's bothered me that when I am very upset, tired, or otherwise out of sorts and I ask EnviroDaddy to do something for me, he'll flip out about the WAY I am speaking and (at least for the first few minutes) give zero consideration to the need I am expressing or the difficult time I am having. I feel like he's saying, "I don't care what you said or how you feel; what about ME?"
So, I'm working very hard at resisting that approach when I speak to EnviroKid, because I know how lousy it feels to be on the receiving end. Instead, I address what he's asking for, and then once we've started addressing that (for example, I am fixing the snack he wants), I say, "Next time, please use your nice voice," and say it the way I wish he'd said it.
|Avoid using the word "but." It "undoes" your efforts at expressing empathy. Don't say, "I know you don't want to, but you have to." That might be true -- but saying basically says, "I know how you feel but it doesn't matter."
That's another thing I'm trying to train EnviroDaddy out of, when speaking to me as well as to our child! That and, "I'm sorry, but [justification of his behavior]."
It IS hard to resist saying these things sometimes, especially when you're in a hurry, but I find it's worth the effort.
Oh, one more thing: Don't ASK her to do something if it's not optional.
I don't know if you have been doing that, but I hear a lot of moms say things like, "Can you put your shoes on? Are you ready to go to the store?" when what they mean is, "Put your shoes on now, please. We are going to the store." It makes a big difference!
|She also gives me ultimatums, like if I say after many times of asking, "You need to pick up your toys or no outside play." She'll turn around and say, "Well if you don't pick up your stuff you can't go outside." I get so angry.
Ooohh, I know! EnviroKid recently started counting to three on me
, and although it's totally logical for him to follow my example and think that whatever I do to him is something he can do to me...sometimes I want to say, "I'm the parent, dang it! Respect my authority!!! You can't talk to me like that!"
: But I guess we just have to take it in stride, model behavior that's applicable to all people, and move on.