Parenting Habit #2: Saying something and not following through with it
Many of the parents I support tell me that they find this habit particularly frustrating and say they do it more during school holidays than term time. This makes me curious!
Why more in the holidays?
The only thing I can come up with is this. We are often more relaxed and chilled during the holidays. There are usually fewer limits, there is often more freedom, winging it and going with the flow. As a result of this, things can suddenly get pushed too far and BOOM… we snap.
“I wish that I had not said it because I know that I will never be able to follow through with it”
I ask them for examples of the sorts of things that they say:
“If you do that again we will have to go home… NOW ….” – impossible in the circumstances!
“That’s it, you are NEVER using the iPad again…” – as if that’s going to happen!
“Next time you go out you will have to come home earlier…” and next time comes round and I forget!
If you find yourself nodding your head while reading this and saying to yourself:
“YES, this is just what I do!”
Think back to the last time you said something like this and ask yourself:
“What had been going on prior to you saying it, what drove you to say it?”
More often that not, these things are said in the heat of the moment when things have already gone downhill, got out of hand and you feel pressured. You feel that you have to say something big, something that will REALLY get their attention and make an impact.
Let’s think about what saying these types of things to your children teaches them. It teaches them to not believe what you say and the impact to them? There isn’t one.
How can you avoid doing this?
- Be aware of the current reality and where things might be headed. Learn to prepare yourself in advance – notice the downhill slide. You know the signs!
- Slow down, pause for a moment
- Make a plan in your mind before you say anything
- Ask yourself: Can I implement the plan and can I follow through with it? YES?
- If and when the situation calls for intervention, state the plan AND more importantly make sure that you FOLLOW THROUGH with it!
The consequence or plan doesn’t even have to be tough or harsh. It’s the fact that by following through with it, your kids will begin to learn and appreciate that you mean what you say.
Try it. See what happens and look out, your kids might just start to listen to you more!