Man my Sparky is one clever dude! I’ve been perfecting my book for around a month now and I’m ready to send to the editor NOW and today I run into an old friend who asks me about my books and I say, “I’m sending my final draft of my parenting book to the editor this week” and she says, “What is it called?” and I say, “How to STOP your kids getting run over” and she says, “Wow that’s a wide meaning so do you use the same strategies with kids in life as you do for crossing the road?” I answer “Yes” because I use “Stop, Look, Listen, Think, Do It” to help kids deal with their bad feelings (yeah I added the ‘Do It!’) and she says, “So parents have to ‘Stop, Look, Listen, Think, Do It’ when they are parenting?” And I go, “Yeah” and then we say goodbye and I get in the car and go “WOW!”
YES! YES! YES!
So here is how it works for parents when parenting our gorgeous kids….
STOP – what you are thinking, saying and doing when there is a problem or situation with your kids, just like you stop everything when you are about to cross the road. Maybe its a tantrum, problem at school, they won’t do what you ask, or they are whinging, complaining, anything that is challenging you or them while you are together!
LOOK – at what is going on as though you are standing on the side of the road and watching the traffic go both ways, in other words “detach” yourself from the situation and just watch it as though you are an observer with no role to play. You are literally just checking to see what the flip is happening on the road before you contemplate crossing it.
LISTEN – to everything your kid has to SAY about the situation, really listen and consider their viewpoint without consoling them or judging them. If you can’t listen now, tell them you need some time and you’ll let them know when you are ready to listen. When you are ready tell them to “Go for it” this may take 30 seconds in which case your child may need prompting to share more so say something like, “I’m listening, is there anything else?” or “What else is bothering you babe/honey/dear/beautiful?” 3 minutes of uninterrupted listening on your part and continuous talking on your child’s part is usually enough, but if your child needs longer – give them longer, basically listen until they stop talking (yes even if they keep going on and on about the same thing! – sorry you didn’t want to hear that did you?) OH YEAH don’t let your kid abuse you during this time, this is NO BLAME YOU time, it’s okay if they blame or bitch about someone else, BUT don’t agree with them or join them, be neutral.
THINK – okay here’s the tricky bit, if you feel emotionally charged up and you want your kid to learn a lesson or someone else “to pay” for what they did to your kid, you will need to take some time out to cool down. DO NOT try to resolve the situation or problem when you are fired up! It’s totally okay to say to your kid, “Just give me some time to think about all that honey pie/dearest/sugarplum.” When you are calmish use your amazing powers of thought and go through the scenario asking yourself questions like: “Is that helping them?” “Is there another side of the story I need to hear?” “Is my kid tired, hungry, thirsty and making a big deal of nothing?” “What are my options?” Think about all these, look at the positives and the negatives and then ask one more question, “Do I need to get some advice?” BINGO!! You got it! Advice – yes that’s the easiest and best answer because otherwise you will possibly just keep going around and around in circles so try this… Ask your loving inner voice or intuition (I call it ‘Sparky’), “What do I do now?” Listen to the answer, trust it’s the right thing to do, check if you want to by asking yourself, “Is what I’m going to do good for my kid? Is it good for me? Is it good for others?” If it is good for everyone in the long run then…