Right now I’m working through the Motivate Your Child Action Plan and listening to the audio sessions as part of my work on the Motivate Your Child Action Plan launch team. This afternoon I was listening to one of the audio sessions, and on the session, Scott Turansky made a statement that I found really instructive as a parent.
He said that in parenting it’s better to take a coaching or teamwork perspective. In other words, you and your child are a team and you’re partnering to make the changes that you need to see in your home. He said that far too often parents let problems with their children come between them and their child. These problems can drive a wedge between you and your child and keep you from having the relationship that allows you to be effective at effective changes in your child’s life.
I realized as I listened to the audio session that I had allowed that to happen in my life. You know, you hear so often from other parents that you and your husband are a team. It’s like you’re supposed to be a team against your own children. You know, the people who you don’t want to lose. After all, you want them to be successful and to help them overcome the difficulties and bad things in their lives. So, how could you ever be a team against your children? That seems like a team where everyone loses out.
I had started seeing the trouble that I had with my oldest child’s disrespect and bad attitudes as a personal affront to me. In my head, it was a battle against him, and it was one that I needed to win. Instead, I realized that I needed to be working with him to find ways for us to interact that give him the tools he needs to disagree with me without yelling or being disrespectful.
The sad part is that I had recognized this mistake in another mother’s life far before I recognized it in my own. She was sharing about some difficulty she was having with her child getting out of bed in the middle of the night, and she was giving increasingly harsh punishments. When I told her I would find a solution where everyone got some sleep, she said that she just couldn’t “let him win.”
I realized how ridiculous it was to fight against a five year old wanting comfort in the middle of the night, but I didn’t realize how ridiculous it was to be holding anger and competing against a ten year old for respect when we both have opinions and voices that deserve to be heard.
I don’t have any solutions I’ve come up with yet. I’m going to have to work through some of the workbook first. However, I will share that it lifts a load off my shoulders to realize that I needed to work with my son instead of seeing him as an adversary.