Maintaining some semblance of positivity as a parent can be challenging at times. Like when your toddler floods the laundry after leaving the tap running, or when your 2 and 3 year old decide to play a little game of hide and seek in Target but forget to include you and you ‘misplace’ them for 10 minutes….
In fact quite frequently in our parenting ‘careers’ finding one iota of positivity can be near impossible.
So when I was recently afforded an opportunity to trial and review a Triple P Positive Parenting group program through Kidspot, I was excited although a little skeptical.
Whilst I was keen on sourcing the secrets to being a positive parent, my mind conjured a bunch of hippy-la-la parents sitting around on grass mats singing kumbaya and rubbing special ‘anti-smack’ cream into my well-worn hands….
Thankfully that wasn’t the case at all. In fact the whole workshop was sensible, practical and focused on giving parents realistic tools and techniques to help them live harmoniously with their kids.
Whilst there are a number of varying Triple P courses available, the particular course I attended was a one day group session with around 10-12 other parents of young kids. Contrary to my initial thoughts, it was a relaxed session with a competent and non-judgemental facilitator (Julie) who was also a parent and psychologist.
Having successfully implemented a number of the tips that I took from the workshop I wanted to share some of the key concepts I absorbed (none of it being rocket-science, just simple, common sense).
*drum roll please*
1. Take notice.
You know those rare occasions when the kids are quietly playing a game, watching TV or just generally being quiet/good/friendly/*insert other nicety here*?
And you know how during those times we usually tip toe past them to make ourselves a quiet cuppa/make a phone call/pluck our nose-hairs all the while hoping the bliss will continue for longer than 5 minutes?
Well here’s the thing – take bloody notice of them and let them know they’re being good whilst they’re still in that moment. Yeah I know, bummer hey! We so don’t want to disturb the peace by speaking with them during those moments (or is that just me?) that we forget to praise them for being good.
Quite often it’s the times when the kids are doing something wrong that draws our attention (like fighting, screaming, hanging from ceiling fans or running nude through the house). So of course kids quickly learn that being good is boring because it goes unnoticed so instead they play up and are thus rewarded with negative attention (i.e. Mum losing the plot and screaming like a banshee is a great reward).
A big key to this positive parenting stuff is to catch them being good. Kids love being praised not to mention it makes you actually quite conscious of how often they really are good rather than just focusing on the mischevious stuff……
2. Set boundaries.
Kids are like puppies, they need to know where they can and can’t pee! Actually that wasn’t an analogy, with three boys I really do have to clearly outline ‘pee-free zones’ around our house!
Set some ground rules specific to your house and stick to them.
Keep the rules simple and positive and use positive wording – instead of using a ‘no running’ rule, have a ‘walking only’ rule.
Make it clear and simple so the kids know the behaviour you DO want to see, rather than focus on what you DON’T want.
3. Clear, calm instructions
A really great tip I took from the course was the ‘triple C’ approach to giving instructions. Be Clear, Concise and in Close proximity when you ask the kids to do something.
I have to admit to being a typical ‘yeller’ and it drives The Chook Whisperer mad when I call to the kids from the other end of the house to come and brush their teeth. And of course they never come the first time they’re called. I end up calling them 3 or 4 (or 10) times with increasing tone and velocity before they end up trudging down to the bathroom just to shut up the bellowing coyote that is their mother!
When giving an instruction get close to them, give them a short, clear, calm direction and wait 5 (ish) seconds. The waiting is a real clincher and truly takes a bit of practise.
I was surprised at how powerful such a simple technique is and doubly surprised when I realised how often I repeatedly yelled the same request over and over at the kids instead of asking just once, but asking properly.
There was plenty of other stuff I gleaned from this workshop but the most important point was that reminder to be present for my kids.
Yes we say we’re always here for our kids, but we’re not always present…Often we get so caught up in the day to day menial stuff like cooking, cleaning, pulling lint from one’s navel, that we forget to stop and enjoy the moment with them.
To stop and enjoy that the kids have discovered a new way of putting on their undies…
To appreciate when they have worked out that taking a bite out of every piece of fruit in the fruit basket at once makes a fruit salad in their mouth….
To look directly into their eyes and truly listen when they tell you their drawing is about ‘you and Daddy and a bear living in the forest in a house made of fairy floss and rainbow icecream’.
To frequently stop, if only for a moment and give the kids a small piece of yourself. To take notice and appreciate the small stuff.
Naaw now isn’t that nice and positive.
Oh I almost forgot to mention that part of the group session included 3 follow up phone consults with our lovely facilitator Julie in the weeks after the course.
It was both motivational and reassuring speaking with Julie on each occasion………although she may have questioned our implementation of Triple P when during the final 5 minutes of our last phone consult our 6 year old approached me and in his most polite and lovely voice said to me ‘excuse me Mum, but Mayhem (our 3 year old) just punched me in the face!!’. Thankfully Julie saw the funny side……
Click here if you’d like to find out more about Triple P parenting courses.
A big thanks to Kidspot and the Indooroopilly Triple P Parenting centre for the opportunity to participate in this course. An especially big thank-you to our facilitator Julie for her non-judgmental, relaxed and professional delivery of the Triple P program.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, I was not obliged to publish a post about my experience (apart from a review on Kidspot) and all opinions expressed are my own ….so there!