One reason parents seek help and advice is because the wheels have come off, and parenting just isn’t that much fun. Their children might be fighting, ignoring them, not doing as they’re asked, or distant. They could be rude, disrespectful and just not that much fun to be with. Parents will almost always agree that in moments like these, they love their children but just don’t enjoy them as much as they’d like to. That feeling doesn’t sit well.
- The value of routine and predictability in the home
- Playing the long game – the type of consequence that just works better
- Together time
As a Family Coach, I also see many families work very hard to put new parenting strategies in place after they’ve been for a coaching session – and all goes well for the first few days or weeks. The children like the sense of order and predictability. They like the fact that there’s a plan and that much more calm reigns. Inevitably, as the days go by, the plan wobbles a little bit, the sense of urgency wanes, the energy required to keep up with the new routines or to be consistent with following through fades, and maybe a bit of fatigue and discouragement settles in. This is normal and probably not too different to what happens to lots of people when they go on a diet. Maintaining the plan is the hard part.
One way to work with this common slip is to stop and take a breather. Look around at your family – what seems to be going on, what’s changed? What have you stopped doing? Is there leadership being demonstrated?
Family reset time
Rather than saying, “This plan doesn’t work” it’s the time to say, “I think it’s time for a reset/tune up.” Allowing for the inevitable wobble can be really helpful and prevent parents from giving up completely.
Gather the family again – maybe set up something nice. The time between dinner and dessert can be a good space to go back to your original plan. As a coach, you want to encourage and inspire your children. They’re part of the team and they’re needed to help your family to be a great one. You might want to say something along these lines,
“This is a great family. I/We have the privilege of training you children to be the very best you can be, to get along with each other, to contribute to the running of the family and to be enjoyed. Some things aren’t working as well as they should be and we’re not having as much fun and enjoyment as we’d like. So I/we’ve decided to stop and get things back on track. The first thing we are going to focus on is __________.”
Children love and need leadership. They’re looking for someone to set the order and boundaries and more importantly, stick to them. They’re also flexible and can handle the fluctuations that most families experience. While most children won’t get too excited about losing some freedom, they do love to know that someone loves and cares enough to be intentional and deliberate about creating a strong, happy family.