January 05th, 2019

24 Positive things to say to Kids

New Year’s resolutions are a bit old hat aren’t they? Do you have a negative response to the idea of forming resolutions to live a better life, to be a better person? That implication that you are somehow deficient as you are now is a bit life-sapping. Maybe you don’t want to tell anyone about your new resolutions because you fear their judgment when you fall off the wagon. If you expect to fail at your resolutions maybe they’re the wrong resolutions, or maybe you need a bit of help with them. Research shows that many resolutions have foundered by 14th January, just a week away! This is mainly because our goals are unrealistic or vague and we fail to recognise that it will take time and effort to change our habits. We may also not delve into why we want to make the proposed changes in the first place. Without this meaning for the change we won’t be able to sustain motivation.

If you do, privately, want to bring up your children to be good people and you recognise that the job of parenting would actually be made easier and more pleasant by not yelling at them, then maybe just one simple resolution would be good for you –STOP SHOUTING. But resolutions which are about stopping doing something, like giving up smoking or reducing the amount you eat or drink or the amount of time you spend on a screen are notoriously difficult to fulfil. For a goal to be really worth your time, you must move towards something you do want, rather than just move away from something you don’t want.

Check your feelings

If you want to speak more positively to your children you will need to do something about those feelings that caused you to yell at them in the first place. Resolve to be kinder to yourself and look after your physical and emotional wellbeing better. When you lose it and you shout how were you feeling? Did you feel disrespected or powerless or stupid or ignored? If you’re feeling like that no WONDER you shouted!

Check your thoughts

Looking after yourself better and recognising your feelings will help stop them from dictating your behaviour but you may also be able to prevent yourself from feeling that way by changing what you were thinking about what happened.

If your 11 year old boy comes home from school and drops his filthy sports kit in the middle of the hall and announces that he’s not doing his Maths homework ‘because Miss Jenkins stinks’ and you think he’s going to ruin his academic chances and his future because of a silly whim and he’s taking you for granted and you’ve failed to teach him to consider others…. then you’re likely to feel panicky and disrespected. And if that’s how you feel you’re likely to try to assert yourself and grab control of the situation and deflect blame from yourself. And you may yell.

If you reframe your thoughts about your children’s behaviour it will have less potential to push your buttons. I recommend that whenever you feel your buttons being pushed you take some cool down time. Tell your kids what you’re doing –this is great modelling of handling emotions in a mature way.

When you come back to your kids in a new calmer state before dealing with the behaviour seek to understand why they did what they did and describe it to them. Did your son drop his gear in the hall because he was caught up in an impulse to race off and do something fun after his busy day? Did he forget that he’s supposed to put his stuff in the laundry basket? Does he feel challenged by the current topic in maths? Does he feel defeated by the task? Does he believe that there is nothing he can do to improve things? When you reframe your thoughts about your child’s behaviour there’s a good chance you can be calmer.

How can you fill the void created by the absence of shouting? Create a new habit of speaking positively. Creating a bank of positive phrases will help you to pull them out even when provoked. So here are 24 things to say to kids (adapt for your family) to take you to the end of January.

  1. You look a bit concerned. Do you want to talk?
  2. For you to speak to me like that I’m guessing something is really troubling you.
  3. Thank you for looking at me when I’m talking. That’s polite.
  4. I noticed you have made a start on cleaning up your room. That probably felt a bit overwhelming but you seem to have divided it up into tasks which is a good way to tackle it. I see you’ve returned the plates and glasses to the kitchen.
  5. Thanks for ringing to tell me your rehearsal ran on and you’ll be late. Now I won’t worry.
  6. I love it when you tell us stories about what happened at Scouts. You do a perfect impersonation of Akela. You really have observed the way he speaks very accurately.
  7. It sounds like you felt left out when the others were talking together about the movie they went to. Maybe you were wondering why they didn’t ask you to come too?
  8. You’ve been practising your chord changes in guitar. They’re getting more fluent I think, don’t you?
  9. I was thinking of you today when I was walking the dog. I saw some daffodils just poking out of the ground and I was thinking that Spring is coming and how you love it when the flowers come out.
  10. I love the way you’re such a good friend. You took a lot of time to help Toby go through those Biology notes that he missed.
  11. Child loses mouthguard for the 3rd “I guess you’re feeling really bad about losing it. Maybe you’re worried that I’ll be cross with you. You’re probably thinking about how much they cost.”
  12. You were quick getting into your pjs so we’ve got time for a bit of play before bed.
  13. Lexie, you’re being very gentle with the baby. Look how he’s smiling at you. He loves it when his big sister cuddles him gently.
  14. Tell me that joke about the frog and the ducks again. I want to tell it to Daddy when he gets home.
  15. You’ve got 6 of the 7 letters in ‘because’. Can you take a guess what the 7th letter is?
  16. It probably feels like your brother always has his way about the computer. Maybe we need to work out a plan so you both get an equal turn on it.
  17. You’ve been sounding out your words so carefully and practicing really hard so you’re able to read more and more –you can read stories and interesting facts on the computer or in books and know what the signs say and you can order from menus by yourself.
  18. I appreciate it when you speak to me calmly even though you’re really mad. I know this matters to you and I’m really trying to understand your perspective so it really helps that you’re not yelling.
  19. Even though I know how much you hate being woken up in the mornings you haven’t complained. You probably feel very cosy and warm under your duvet but you managed to say Good Morning to me.
  20. You’re remembering to use your knife and fork and you’ve cut your food into bite-sized mouthfuls.
  21. When your little sister was struggling with her zip just then you didn’t laugh at her. You know she’s learning just like you did.
  22. You’ve written your homework clearly in your diary. How sensible - now you know exactly what to do.
  23. Thank you for remembering to hang your blazer up when you came in. It will stay a lot cleaner on its peg.
  24. Just then you asked your brother to move over in a polite way. 

I hope you have a very happy, positive and calm 2019!

Posted in: Communication , New Year Resolutions

 

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