We made it through the whole winter. But now my 6 year old comes up with a cold. And he may have had a bug over the winter, I just don’t keep a logbook of every sniffle. But a small summer cold isn’t much to complain about, until it’s your 6 year old and he picks at his nose all the time. So I find myself saying things like, “that’s gross”, or being very short, “Go wipe your nose”. But essentially, I’m complaining.
So I as I was running through my podcast notes, I came across this phrase.
Request, don’t complain.
And we all have things that get our goat. We do need to correct unacceptable behaviors as parents. But first – let’s go back to an old lesson and define what’s unacceptable. Is Swinging the legs at the dinner table unacceptable? It may not be. You may want control over your kids limbs … but their his limbs. If they’re kicking you. Yes. If they are damaging the table. Yes. If he’s just a fidgeter. We need to back off.
In fact - side story here.
Kids need rules and limits in their lives. They need the structure. They need to learn how to delay their own gratification, especially in this instant-gratification, right-now world we live in. Do, however, choose your battles wisely, too many rules can cause rebellion.
But on the unacceptable things; in essence what we really want is for something to change.
And the most natural way is to yell. Or demand.
But the most effective way is to ask.
“In the future, if you use a Kleenex, I would really appreciate it if you put them in the trash. Thanks."
And when it happens. Say thanks.
And when it doesn’t happen. Well, things can’t happen until it gets done. “Sorry, I can’t play with you with all of these Kleenex’s not in the trash”.
It’s hard. I admit. But it’s the best approach, if you can hack it.