By Joey and Carla Link
September 21, 2022
So much of our parenting in the early years can be summed up in these words, “No, No, NO!” This is not a positive word by any means, but in the early years a necessary one. Rarely are we in the home of a family with toddlers and preschoolers that, when asked, we don’t tell them that a large part of their battle with their little ones is they are way over talking them. If you are using words and explanations they can’t possibly understand, then it is time to use as few words as possible and “No!” is certainly a word they do understand.
As your kids grow and their understanding does too, it is time to move more towards building a relationship of trust with them by using positive words. One great way to do this is to point them to where you want them to go rather than tell them to stop what they are doing. Your child is being mean to his sibling? Pull him aside and ask him if he can tell you one way he can be kind to his sister. Then ask him if he is willing to show her this kindness with a good attitude. If not, he gets to sit until he is. This is a great way to direct your kids to where you want them to go.
As we all keep adding kids to our family, it is hard as parents to transition from one stage of parenting to another, much less be in one or more stages at the same time. But that is what is necessary for your kids to feel loved.
To Think About:
- Would you characterize your relationship with your spouse as being positive or negative?
- Would you characterize your relationship with each of your children/teens as being positive or negative?
- Have you worked toward giving your child ownership of his/her behavior/attitudes?
- Do you listen to your child with an open heart?
- Does your child feel like he/she is a priority to you?
- Do you value what your child values?
- Are you willing to admit when you have made a mistake and seek their forgiveness?
- Are your expectations of your child realistic?
Here are some things you can do to help your kids feel like they live in a life-giving home.
COUCH-TIME Seeing you interact in a positive way gives kids security. Secure children are happy and content, and that shows in their actions and attitude. Does couch time really make a difference? We could tell you story after story of how this alone has changed family’s lives. Sitting on the couch talking, not arguing for 10-15 minutes. There are two rules to couch-time.
- The kids have to see you doing it
- They don’t have the freedom to interrupt.
- Start with 2 nights a week.
- If your kids are having a tough time not interrupting you, start with 5 minutes until they figure out you intend to be consistent with this new thing.
- Ask each older child (6 yrs. and up) to play with a younger sibling.
- Ask the older kids in advance what they are going to do during this time.
- If your younger kids are content in playpen time and blanket time, have your older kids play by themselves so fights don’t break out.
Helpful hints to get consistent couch-time:
- Schedule a time daily, make it non-negotiable
- Put your phones away during couch-time
- Have a special box of toys that young children get to play with during couch-time only
- If Dad is traveling or works 2nd shift, he can call and let the kids know it is couch-time and he needs to talk to Mommy
- If Dad gets home from work late, Mom can feed the kids first and have couch-time with Dad when he gets home and eats dinner.
Mom’s Notes presentation, “Is Your Spouse Your Best Friend?”
No amount of discipline will be effective if a child’s emotional needs are not being met. We all tend to show what our primary love language is by doing it ourselves when we are showing love to others. So how can you tell what your kids love languages are? These are ways a young child will show love:
- Is she always telling you how nice you look; how good dinner was
(Words of Encouragement)
- Does he bring you pictures he has colored or rocks he found in the yard?
- Does she follow you around offering to help you? (Acts of service)
- Does he give you a hug, cling to you? (Physical Touch and Closeness
- Is she always asking you to read her a book or color with her?
Ask your child what you do that makes him feel special. He will tell you. Write down a way you will meet each of your children’s love language each day, and then do it!!
ENCOURAGE YOUR KIDS/Teens
Praise and encouragement are far better motivators to get your children to do what they are supposed to do than discipline and critical words.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.”
I Thessalonians 5:11
ELEVATE THE GOOD
Again, point your children in the direction you want them to go. Pointing them to the good is to get into the habit of saying the opposite of the negative.
Instead of this:
Stop running in the house!
Please walk in the house, you can run outside
Instead of this:
Why can’t you do what I tell
you to do?
I asked you to vacuum the family room. Whey will you get that done?
Instead of this:
We are late again, why can’t you
get your stuff done on time?
Make a list of all the things you need to do to get ready to leave the house in the morning. Check the things that can be done before you go to bed. Write down how much time the rest will take. You will see when you need to get up then.
Instead of this:
Quit hitting your brother!
Tell me something you can do to show your brother you love him.
(For more on ‘elevating the good’, see the Mom’s Notes presentations,
“Understanding Character Training, Parts 1 and 2”)
In Summary –
You cannot always be positive in your parenting. There are times negative parenting is necessary. Being positive however, takes a different way of thinking. Write down one way you can be positive in your parenting that day with each of your children. It is well worth the time to think of ways to do this.