We turned the corner into total threenager territory this past weekend. Mae has been rebellious and a bit rude. So I picked back up How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen, and while we are still in a challenging phase, this book is giving me tools to help decrease the level of emotional outbursts we have.
The book gives a lot of helpful, practical tips to incorporate into your everyday life with a toddler, but here are the two that I have been able to really implement over the last few days:
- Just give information, instead of an accusation. This is SO simple, yet I wasn’t doing it and it seems to really work. For example, instead of saying “Can you put your shoes away?” I say “I see shoes on the floor.” When I just convey the information to Mae, she just does the task (80% of the time)!
2. Instead of telling her what to do, I ask her how she’d like to do it (problem solving). For instance, I usually would have asked “What do you want for breakfast?” This almost always turns into me asking a half dozen times and her flip flopping between different ideas and driving me crazy. This morning, I said “We need to figure out breakfast.” I invited her to problem solve with me. She immediately got excited about making a smoothie! We haven’t made one in months, and I would have never thought to suggest it, but she did, and it was a healthy choice!
As a college professor, I see such a lack of critical thinking abilities in my students. They are told what to do and what to memorize in school. I just read my students’ midterm self-assessments and 75% of them said they wished high school had better prepared them.
So, I like how this parenting style invites your child to problem solve and recognize what needs to be done. It both makes life easier in the moment and encourages them to think for themselves in the future.