Strong emotions are a big bug bear when you’re in a playful home or are they really? Our aim as parents surely is to train, teach and allow opportunities of growth. We allow ample unstructured playtime to build creativity; structured activities to encourage skills and further learning; outdoor skills to connect with nature and so on. However, since our children come with varied temperaments, there is that potential to clash. This power struggle of who wins and who loses is a big problem in most of our playful homes. Mostly because we rely on previous experiences and default scripts we are often surprised that really come out of our mouths.
We can all think of a sticking point in our playful experiences at home and wish we had a tool or trick to just fix it, and fix it forever. Tricks don’t last over time. Although they can get you through situations they often start you down a path that leads to more problems. A better solution is to arm yourself with ideas, tools and solutions that you marinate with overtime and gradually introduce into your family.
Remember, you only have to succeed the last time.
What we know to be true with toddlers
There are a few things that everyone with a toddler knows to be true.
- That there will be tantrums
- They will have to make difficult decisions
- They will have to curb and control their impulsive behaviour
All of those things will happen together when you are late for an appointment, in public where you have to make a decision to abandon a cart, step out of a line or leave a crowded room.
We do our children a disservice if we don’t rise to the occasion to learn how to make those situations better for us both. We need to be more proactive and train them not for us but for them to learn the skills of being part of a social unit.
The fundamental problem is whether our reactions are age appropriate and whether the methods we use are useful.
It’s exciting to see that Amanda Morgan of NotJustCute has a wonderful downloadable book addressing these issues. Her book ; Parenting with Positive Guidance. She provides tools and not tricks. For those of us looking for intentional ways to positively guide our children it’s one of those books you can dip into and let the ideas sit with you for a while. She also adds lots of illustrations which give us good scripts to help change our way of communicating.This book certainly isn’t a follow steps 1 to 20 and you will have a perfect child. Raising children is hard. Amanda shows us insight, encouragement and ideas for this rollercoaster journey.
Amanda has worked extensively in challenging situations and is a mom She uses these techniques herself and I’ve loved trying them out myself. Her story about relinquishing ownership really helped me with a current struggle playing one parent off the other.
Our own struggle
Last night my older son and I were having a discussion about memory and how just trying to remember something just doesn’t always work out. As our current problem was clearly showing, we talked about doing the same thing and expecting a different result really wasn’t going to work out and we looked back and could see that. We had the range of emotions and finally a resolution. I can’t do that with my three year old. However I can guide him if I know a few more ideas.
When my three year old throws down and does the tantrum thing I want to have more than my gut reaction and shame to be my lead. I want to have practiced ideas, alternative solutions and know that if this doesn’t work I will try something else.
Parenting with Positive Guidance is split up into three sections
- Building Discipline from the Inside out
- Inside the toolbox
- Bring it all together.
With the approach of philosophy,tools and use, this book gives us a good foundation to get going and feel good about teaching and training our children. We give them ample opportunities to ride that bike, use those scissors all under instruction or in a warm and supportive environment. Amanda provides a creative framework for social skills development. You won’t want to lose out on the ideas here to shape your family.
I was delighted to interview Amanda this week. To find out more about Amanda you can listen to her talk about how to teach sharing in Raising Playful Tots.
Now it’s your turn. Tell me your story.