Balancing Boundaries and Freedom

This most often shows up in our attempts to set healthy boundaries while also supporting our kids’ independence and allowing them to have freedom.  We speak to this throughout the Intentional Parenting book in our conversations about the importance of allowing kids to struggle.  Tim Kimmel calls them “designed dilemmas,” and the folks at Love and Logic call them SLO’s (Significant Learning Opportunities).  They are simply moments where we avoid jumping in and rescuing, and allowing our kids to learn through their decisions (good and bad).  These moments are always about developing character, and strengthening resilience.  

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Q&A Thursday: What is normal behavior for a toddler?

Toddlerhood is known to be a time of discovery and exploration.  We get a front seat to fascinating physical, cognitive, emotional and social growth.  While this season of development involves discovery and wonder, it can be full of challenges and hurdles.  Let’s look at a few developmental norms for this season in our kids’ lives.  

1  Toddlers are literal.  “Don’t kid me, Mom, I know they’re my feet.”  - a 3-year-old boy in response to his mother telling him his shoes were on the wrong feet.  In terms of their cognitive development, the world is very black and white.  They won’t have an ability to see the “grays” of life until way down the road.  They need our responses to them to be concrete and literal.  

2.  Toddlers are strong-willed.  There are some benefits to being strong-willed.  Having a strong temperament and being stubborn can actually help children in terms of maintaining focus, problem-solving, attacking difficult tasks, having courage in the face of challenges, create opportunities for leadership, and standing up to difficult peers.  READ MORE

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Q&A Thursday: HELP me stop repeating myself!!

Q: I feel like I have to repeat myself over and over again before I can get my child to DO what I am asking! There has to be a better solution! HELP!

A: Repetition Doesn’t Necessarily Engender Response...

One of the biggest complaints we hear from kids is that their parents repeat themselves…over and over and over...

“Clean your room.” 

“I told you to clean your room.”

“How many times do I have to tell you to clean your room?”

And one of the biggest complaints we hear from parents is that you have to repeat yourselves…over and over and over.  This scenario doesn’t seem to be working for anyone. READ MORE

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Q&A Thursday: How do I teach my kids to self regulate their emotions?

QUESTION:

We recently attended your Intentional Parenting Conference. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned quite a bit!! Thank you for that! 

 We have 3 children (2 boys and a girl) and my youngest is by far the most challenging. One problem I have is, after I have thrown down the gauntlet, ex. "Go to your room", my son will refuse or fall to the floor and throw a fit.

        Do I pick him up, arms and legs flying and put him in his room? If after I put him there, do I stand at the door and hold it closed?

ANSWER:

I am certain that there are dozens of people reading this question, shaking their head in agreement and saying some version of “YES!  That happens to me too.”  It’s a great question, and we will inevitably find ourselves in a power struggle with a child who won’t follow through with a consequence we’ve delivered.   A helpful question to ask yourself is “can I enforce that?”  We are advocates of only giving kids consequences we can easily enforce.  For example, rather than saying “you were disrespectful, hand me your cell phone.”   Only to have a child hold it behind their back and say “you can’t take that from me, I bought with my birthday money.”   Your options at this point are to restate the consequence ten more times or start reaching for it behind their back - neither are good choices.  

 A better option would be to say “you were disrespectful and I’m going to log on to AT & T in a few minutes and shut your phone down. READ MORE

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