Toss Out Time Out || Parenting Advice

If you are currently using timeouts and they’re working for you, then keep going.  Don’t fix what’s not broken.  But if you’re using them and they’re not working then keep reading.

I’ve never used timeouts nor have I ever taught them.  I see them as a form of avoidance, “You go sit over there as I don’t know what to do with you.”  I find them weak as they don’t really teach any lessons other than how to sit in a chair in the corner.

Here are 2 scenarios, one with timeout, one without:

With Timeout:  Johnny hits Sally with the TV remote because she changed the channel away from his favourite show.  Mom puts him on the naughty chair in the corner for 5 minutes (1 minute for each year of his life).  When the 5 minutes are up she tells him he can get up and has to apologize to Sally for hitting her.  There, done.  A couple of days later he hits Sally again and the process is repeated because Johnny has only been taught that being mean leads to punishment.  He hasn’t been taught how to be nice.  Saying sorry isn’t much of a lesson, it’s just empty words to most kids, and adults.  The real lesson is learning how to treat people well and act appropriately.

My Method:  Johnny hits Sally with the remote control.  Mom takes the remote control away from Johnny and gives it back to Sally telling her she can watch her show.  She then hugs Sally to make sure she’s okay.  She calmly says to Johnny, “Come with me.”  She takes Johnny into Sally’s room and says, “For the next 2 days you are going to make Sally’s bed to make up for hitting her.  When that’s done you can watch your favourite show again.”  Then she walks him back to Sally and explains that he’ll be making her bed and says, “Sally, if you tease him about making your bed, you’ll make his bed instead.  Everyone understand?”  Let’s assume they agree then Mom says, “Now, how about we all play a game?”  Johnny has learned it’s not okay to hit people and how to be nice to people.  He’s also learned that TV is a privilege not a right.  The game at the end is a bonding exercise.  It’s to reinforce good relationships instead of focusing on negative behaviour.

Once a child has been punished you have to let it go and move on in a positive way.  Too often I see parents reminding kids about how rotten they’ve been.  Ugh, what does that do to self-esteem?

Oh and by the way, if Johnny doesn’t make Sally’s bed his favourite show is not allowed.  It’s used not as punishment for being bad, but reward for being good.  It’s in line with my “as soon as method”.

If you want help with this, check out my Coaching Page.

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

How to Bully Proof your Kids

School’s coming soon so time to start teaching your kids how to handle bullies, just in case.

The best defense against bullies is confidence and high self-esteem.  But when I was mentoring kids I didn’t always have a lot of time to build up their confidence, etc. so I had to come up with another way to arm them against bullies.  So we used role playing.    

Why is role playing so effective?  Because kids learn best by doing.

So how do you do this?  You set up a bullying scenario, write it out like a script with your child.  Then you take turns being the bully and victim.  Keep the bullying non-personal as even when acting things out meanness hurts.

Make it fun.  When I’d play the bully I’d say things like, “Do you use that thumb growing out of your forehead to push elevator buttons.”  Kinda embarrassing writing such ridiculous stuff here, but kids gobble that stuff up.

The victim role is one of calm indifference.  Not ignoring as that’s antagonistic, but indifference.  Indifference then diversion.

Role play could go something like this:

Bully:  Does your whole family have green hair or is it just you?
Victim:  Yup, all green tops.  What are you doing this weekend?

Humour can work also but it has to come naturally to the child already.  My son used humour but my daughter used indifference and diversion.

I had my first bullying incident when I was in Grade 2.  A much older student came up to my face and made fun of my last name.  I laughed right along and came up with an even funnier play-on-words with my name.  The bully was completely defeated and walked away.  Bullies are quick to move on when they don’t get the desired reactions:  fear, crying, etc.  

Were you ever approached by a bully?  How did you handle it?

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

Note:  Sorry about having to turn some of you away with the August “4 Week Parenting Plan”.  I have a limited number of people I can handle as I have daily contact with everyone and it filled up very quickly.  Private coaching is available.

If your child is a Rotten Brat, it’s all your Fault

finger in faceBad News:   If your child is a Rotten Brat, it’s all your Fault

Good News:   If your Child is a Rotten Brat, it’s all your Fault

How your children act is a direct result of your parenting. That’s great news as it means that if they are rotten brats today you have the power to turn that around.

When coaching I often tell parents that the only other relationship that’s even close to parenting is a sports coach. A great coach explains the rules of the game, enforces the rules, and bonds with and encourages the kids.

Could you imagine a child arguing the rules of baseball?!:

I don’t wanna run around all the bases, I just

wanna run to 1st base then back home for a home run!!!!

Waaaaaaaa … !!!!”

Would a coach allow that? Of course not. Yet why on earth would you allow your children to argue bedtime, mealtime, manners?!

Kids who don’t respect their parents often respect other adults. Most of my clients say their children are great with the teacher and other adults, just horrible with them. That’s great news as it means they’re not really rotten, they just need leadership.

Children who don’t respect their parents don’t have self-respect. 

I don’t really believe that children are capable of being rotten brats. They’re just reacting to the lack of leadership in their lives. The reason I know this is that I was never asked to work with angels, I specialized in troubled kids/teens and never had a problem with any one of them. Sure, some took longer to come around, but they all did eventually.

All kids respond beautifully to strong leadership, love and boundaries.

So if you’re struggling with parenting now, please don’t put up with it any longer. I don’t want that for you OR your kids.  I have a free “3 Step Parenting Plan” included in my newsletters which outlines how to get started with discipline.  Just sign up at the top right of this page.  It’s simple and easy to use.  

Sign up to my Newsletter (above right) to get your FREE “3 Step Parenting Plan”.  I use this with all of my clients as a visual tool to get organized with discipline, rules, etc.

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

Do Grades Really Matter? | Parenting Education

A growing body of evidence suggests grades don’t predict success — C+ students are the ones who end up running the world.  

Quote is from a great article by Macleans:  “Do Grades Really Matter?”

Grades have become the yardstick by which children are often judged.  I mentored tons of struggling students and always told them it’s usually the worst students who end up running the world.  Not true but they loved hearing that I wasn’t obsessed with grades, took the pressure off and made them feel better about themselves.

I’m extremely opinionated on this subject and my opinions are often unpopular.  Pushing children academically is wrong.  I’ve known too many “gifted” children who turned into self-destructive teenagers.  It’s just not healthy to focus too much on academics.  Where’s the joy and happiness in life?  Where’s the fun?   Here’s a story of a mom trying to bully me over this.

Here were my priorities when raising my kids:

  1. Healthy & Fit
  2. Happy & Confident
  3. Polite & Nice
  4. Social
  5. Doing their best

If you look after the first 4, the 5th takes care of itself.  If kids are struggling at school then hire a tutor or ask the staff if there are free teacher sessions available.

If you are a confident leader for your children to look up to they will naturally want to do their best to make you proud.  If they don’t respect you, they don’t respect themselves, or school or anything.

If you want help learning how to get respect, check out my Coaching Page. 

Discipline and education go hand-in-hand.  Kids who aren’t disciplined at home are sure going to struggle more at school.  

I can’t remember ever having a conversation about homework with my kids, and I know I never helped them.  Their homework was just done after dinner then we’d all have fun doing something.  It was just one of the disciplines in their lives.  I was proud of their grades but all I fussed over was their good behaviour comments.

If you have self-discipline and do your best, you’re going to succeed.

What are your priorities with your kids?

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

 

7 Ways to Boost Children’s Self-Esteem | Parenting

There are probably 70 ways to boost children’s self-esteem, but I’ve narrowed it down to 7:

  1. Spend time with your kids.  Kids don’t really care as much about quality time as just plain old time.  They want to be around you, they feel safe around you, they feel good about themselves around you.
  2. Enjoy their company.  Find some common interests to share.  When my kids were toddlers they loved seeing mom trying to roll down hills, do somersaults, etc. with great difficulty.  They’d wallow in showing clumsy mom how great they were at tumbling around.
  3. No insincere praise.  (“Stop Praising your Kids for Everything”)  Kids are great crap detectors.  They know when they’re great at something and when they’re not.  If you praise them for picking their nose they’re not going to believe you when you’re praising them for a real accomplishment.  Actually I’m kinda guilty of this with my 27 year old son as I don’t see him nearly as much as I’d like to.  He walks the room and I become this pathetically over indulgent mother.  He hates being fussed over and says, “Get a grip Mom, all I did was blink and you’re acting as if I cured cancer!”
  4. Give them chores and responsibilities.  You have to give children something to be proud of, something to make them learn about self-discipline.
  5. Give them choices.  My Mom was the queen of this.  She never told me what to do, it was always about giving me choices.  Of course that’s exactly what I did with my kids as it makes them self-disciplining plus gives them a huge sense of confidence and pride.  You are the master of the choices though.  “You can eat all your vegetables and watch TV or not eat your vegetables and not watch TV … your choice.”  I never questioned this, nor did my kids.  We all just grew up understanding that we were responsible for how our lives went.
  6. Praise them just as much for trying and failing as succeeding.  There is no shame in losing, just in not trying.  Make your kids try everything and praise them for being outgoing, adventuresome and open minded.  Poor sports are built on a base of thinking that success is everything.
  7. Teach them that no one’s perfect.  Perfection is impossible and those who strive to appear perfect are boring.  Teach your children to be confident enough to be comfortable with their imperfections.
More on this:

 

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

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