Once again, we discuss a parent-child scenario in our podcast.
Your child has been having a great time either with a friend, at the park or an event and now it is time to leave. You have errands to run and have to be home by 6 for a meeting.
Does your child whine and beg for more time?
Do they refuse to leave or throw a fit?
How do you handle this situation?
Transitioning from one activity to another can be difficult for any of us to do and especially for kids.
We need to remember that our children have many rules to follow and have many adults telling them what to do. As our children grow, they look for ways to be more independent and being able to make their own decisions gives them a sense of control. When kids resist us or refuse to do what we ask, it could be a sign of them feeling powerless and wanting to have more control in their life.
So how do we meet their needs and still meet ours?
We do need to take care of our responsibilities and we also need to empower our children to take ownership of their own life.
What happens when we respond with anger or even stern insistence?
I told you we had to leave by 4. I have things to do!
It is time to leave now. I don’t care what you are doing.
There will be no screen time tonight if you don’t get in the care right now!
Why do you have to whine like this? You had 2 hours with your friend. You just don’t appreciate anything.
You always make it so difficult for us to leave! Next time, we aren’t coming!
We have found these responses can lead to a child:
-feeling like they don’t matter and no one listens
-feeling guilty and blaming themselves
And parents can find themselves:
-Wishing they had handled it differently and disappointed because now their child is angry
-Labeling the child as stubborn which can lead to more of the same behavior
-Dreading taking your child to future activities, which builds resentment
So what can we do?
Here are some validating responses that can change the outcome of the conversation, curve unwanted behavior and allow everyone to get their needs met.
-Give your child a countdown timer
Honey, we will be leaving in 15 minutes. I am going to set a timer and I will let you know when you have 5 minutes left.
-Check in with your child before it it time to leave
We can stay for 30 more minutes. Is there anything else you want to do with your friend today before we leave?
-Give a choice
Do you want to swing for the last 15 minutes or ride your bike?
Before the next outing, discuss your the issue with your child.
When we go to the park, I get frustrated when it is time to leave and you argue with me. I realize when you are having fun, you wish you could stay and continue playing. I would like to find a way that we can make it work for. both of us. How do you think we can do that?
Brainstorming is the next step:
State the problem
Identify possible solutions
write down every solution, even the ridiculous ones
allow them to offer as many solutions as well as adding your own
Once you have complied your list of possible solutions, review them one by one.
Allow both you and your child time to share your thoughts on each idea.
You might even come up with a new solution as you go through the possibilites.
Then restate the new plan and write it down for all to remember.
It would also be helpful to review the plan just before entering a similar situation.
When we validate our child’s feelings and allow them to feel heard and to be heard, we respect them as a human being.