It was a long day. My husband had to work extra hours and it was just me with the kids for over 12 hours. I’ll be honest, by lunch time I felt like I had enough.
They just weren’t listening! How many times did I need to say “it’s not snack time” or “please go play nicely with your sister.” My kids kept arguing with me and I was tired of it.
I wished they would just respond “okay mommy” and walk away.
What if I told there was a way to be more effective in our parenting?
What if I told you we had it all wrong and when it comes to correcting misbehavior less is more?
But there are some moments where I’ve found I need to just stop talking!
Me arguing with them over snack time was doing nothing. It didn’t change the situation. I wasn’t reinforcing any boundaries and we were getting nowhere.
My rationalizing and talking when correcting behavior was ineffective.
First, let’s talk about why we want to explain everything to our kids.
As a school psychologist and woman it’s my natural instinct to try to explain everything with words. “It’s not nice to take a toy from your brother. How do you think he feels when you don’t share with him? Why do you take the toy as soon as he starts playing with it?”
Now there isn’t anything wrong with these statements, but they aren’t effective in stopping the negative behavior.
Here is another example, my son asks for a snack for the 20th time and I tell him “no honey, it’s not snack time right now.” He continues to bug me for a snack. Instead of going on and on, explaining to him why he can’t have a snack, I need to set a firm boundary. “Mommy said no.” I’ve even heard people say “asked and answered,” meaning my decision hasn’t changed.
See when it comes to correcting misbehavior talking doesn’t always seem to be the answer.
So What Can We Do Instead of Talking?
Our pediatrician recommended the book 1-2-3 Magic to us and we were amazed at how effective it was to count to 3 and use a take 5 break as a form of correction.
Correcting Misbehavior: Is Less More?
It’s so simple! 1-2-3. I know, it sounds crazy doesn’t it? How could counting possibly work better than explaining to your child what you want them to do?
As a side note this is not a sponsored post, we found this book useful as parents and we want to share 🙂
This post contains affiliate links for products we love.
I believe part of the reason it works is because it eliminates the chance to argue or debate the answer. It’s a clear way to set a boundary without fuss.
So when my son started bugging me about the snack and I already said no, I said “1.” The countdown began.
It takes a little bit of time for your child to understand what’s happening, but eventually they get it.
Since we’ve implemented the strategies from this book we’ve had so much less arguing!
When we use the 1-2-3 method I’ve found our house is calmer, there is more joy and our kids know what to expect when it comes to correction.
I do find moments to teach our kids social emotional skills using my words, but in the heat of the moment I’ve noticed using less words is best for our family.
I’m still trying to understand the why, but for whatever reason I’ve found our kids respond best when our correction leaves out emotion and excessive talking.
Test it out, see what happens when you use less words in the heat of the moment. I also highly recommend reading 1-2-3 Magic. There is no arguing, yelling or spanking involved.
Lastly, Parenting isn’t easy. There is always something we could be doing better. But I like to think of it as a journey. I’m learning along the way and making the best of each moment.
How do you handle correction in your home? Have you found talking or rationalizing makes an impact one way or another? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!