A few months ago we went through a rough spell around here with my son. I wrote about it here. Things have been better, but at the time I was freaking out so I made a call to a child psychologist we had seen in the past.
During our appointment we explained what had been going on and our fears about what it meant going forward. After our kind-hearted therapist talked me down off the ledge, she gave me a helpful piece of advice for dealing with rude and/or disrespectful behavior from my son.
Her advice was so simple I really didn’t think it would work. She said it right in front of E, which in my mind, meant he was even less likely to take me seriously the next time things got heated at home.
Wanna know what it was?
GIVE Your Child a Redo
Now you are thinking, “what kind of redo? What is this woman talking about?”
A redo can be handled in many different ways. The type of redo you give your child depends very much on the situation.
Here are some scenarios for you to ponder:
Your Child Makes An Unreasonable Demand
Around here this takes a form something like this, “MOM – I want a snack!” Screamed at me while jumping on the furniture. Some days it sounds more like this, “MOM- you forgot my snack!”
As if I am some kind of butler. I am his mother. But this type of behavior irritates the crap out of me. This often leads to me shouting right back, which leads to more screaming….and things go downhill quickly.
My new solution – I say, “Do you want to try that again?” Works like a charm.
Your Child Refuses To Do Something
In other words, your child is flatly refusing to follow directions. This could be overt or more indirect, but either way your feathers are getting ruffled. Particularly if you have made the request more than once.
My son absolutely loves to take his sweet time when I am trying to get out the door in the morning. In the past I would tell him, “You need to get your shoes on so we can get going.” He would basically ignore me, and start playing with something.
Now I give him the option of making a better decision. For example, if he ignores my request that he put on his shoes, I give him a few minutes of wait time and then I say, “have I given you enough time to respond to my request?”
This is gonna sound crazy, but he rolls with it. In fact he will thank me. No really, he thanked me for the time I gave him to respond to my request.
Your Child is having a Random Tantrum
When my son has a meltdown it usually comes out of nowhere, so it’s hard to plan what to do and how to react. Generally, as a parent I prefer to be proactive and not reactive, so the whole tantrum thing throws me for a loop every single time.
The other day we had stopped at my mother’s house to take care of her cat while she was out of town. We were actually on our way home, eagerly anticipating a viewing of Despicable Me. On our way out the door my son decided, out of nowhere, that he would take off his shoes and get into the sandbox in Grandma’s back yard.
When I initially told him no, he ignored me and got in anyway.
I took a moment to compose myself and then I said the following: “Every minute you are in that sand box AFTER I told you no is another minute you will not get to watch Despicable Me. It will be so sad if we cannot finish the movie.”
Can you guess what he did? Yep. He got out. He was not happy but at least we avoided a meltdown. (From myself or him.)
Recently, I have started telling my son, “I’m going to give you a moment to think. Then you get a redo.” This gives me a moment to decompress, too.
Most of the time he modifies his behavior on his own. This is pretty remarkable considering how poorly he reacts to any sort of correction or redirection. E is not a kid who regulates his emotions well.
The most important thing I have learned about parenting is that I have to model the behavior I want to see. Instead of yelling, I am removing the tension from the situation. Sometimes I offer choices. I don’t waste time threatening or negotiating.
My expectations are clear but kind. My son and I are experiencing better communication than we ever have before. I actually feel more in control than I have in a long time.
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So what do you think of giving your child a redo?
Would this strategy work in your home?