Do you ever have those days, or weeks even, when it seems like your kid is constantly testing boundaries? When they are saying “no” to everything you ask? Blatantly ignoring your calls or requests. Arguing with everything you say. When this happens, we as parents often fall into a rut ourselves. We get stuck in “reprimand mode.” Patience is gone and it seems like we’re living in “time outs.” It’s those times when it seems like nothing you’re doing is getting through. It’s the worst. I just finished living one of those weeks with my almost-3yr-old. She was stuck in mean mode so I was stuck in angry mode. I missed my awesome little girl and was wondering if she would ever come back.
So here is what I did to turn it around, and my tip to you. I praised her more. No, seriously. I did. Even though I was ready to hide in the bathtub with a giant glass of wine! I remembered children inherently love to please their parents. They love to make us smile, make us proud and happy. She just needed a little reminding of all the good feelings she gets when she makes us happy by her behavior. So I looked for the first praisable thing she did. It took a little bit because she was on the crazy train let me tell you. Then I saw her bring a toy to her brother. I immediately gushed and praised her. I went over the top because we had a lot of bouncing back to do. She lit up. She had a huge smile and was thrilled with my reaction. So for the rest of the afternoon I made a conscious effort to focus on the good things she did. Praising every one. Even the smallest of things. Slowly but surely she was back. I was back. After that, if she did misbehave we quickly bounced back after just a few words.
When you and your kiddo get in these ruts as we all do, try this out. Praise them. And while you’re at it, take them outside and chase them around. That should help bring the giggles back for you both!