Monday, May 21, 2012

Is There a Magic Parenting Pill?

Many thanks to Parkland Life Magazine for their permission to reprint this article from my Child and Parenting column.

A mom who had recently taken the Redirecting Children’s Behavior (RCB) course was amazed at the transformation in her family, and she enthusiastically declared RCB to be “the magic pill”.  I personally know that transformation about which she spoke – the previously unexplainable behavior of a child is suddenly clear and understandable, and you know what to do!  You have the tools to redirect the fighting and the power struggles.  You can communicate the choices and set the limits.  Things make sense.  You feel calm and capable.  I still feel excited about the course after having taught it for a dozen years, and I hesitate to call it a “magic pill”.  I don’t believe there is a magic pill or silver bullet for parenting.  Here’s why:

It’s work.  Creating the relationships that you want is work.  Handling a challenging toddler or moody teenager is work.  Applying the parenting tools that you’ve learned is worked.  Calling something a “magic pill” discounts the amazing work that parents do to build their relationships with their children. 

I laugh now when I remember a day I sat on the couch thinking about choices for my daughter when she was a toddler.  I had just taken Redirecting Children’s Behavior, and one of the redirects for power struggles is to provide choices – two positive ones in which both you and your child win.  I had come up with one choice, and I sat stonewalled by the second.  This was a totally new way of thinking for me.  Eventually I came up with the second choice.  Each time I put giving choices into practice, it became easier and easier to come up with win-win options.  And it was work.

So own those creative changes that you’ve made in your family.  Feel good about your dedication and commitment. 

It isn’t magic. Although it may feel magical

It’s up to you.  It isn’t about a pill.  It is about you.  It is about the parent you desire to become.  Your growth in becoming that parent is 

Children change and develop, and so do you.  This is the core of a successful family vacation.  Think back to our six needs.  Children will feel valuable and powerful if their ideas are encouraged and heard.  Hold a family meeting to involve everyone in the planning of your vacation.  Brainstorm places to go and things to do. Once your destination is decided, have your children research things they wish to do there, and honor their choices.  Have your older children make the plane, car and hotel reservations.  Your children will inspire you!

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