Today, I want to share a strategy that Steve and I are using at our house and we’re really excited about it. It’s a parenting skill — a new tool, if you will.
Recently, we came across a book and a workbook by Danny Silk. It’s called “Loving Our Kids On Purpose.” The book is available on Amazon. There is also a workbook that goes with it. You can also find both on the LOKOP website. It’s a great book.
Changing How We Interact With Our Daughter
We read through the book together and I want to share some things we found a bit worrisome that we needed to change. Reading this book completely changed the way we interact with our older daughter in a very positive way. We haven’t implemented everything suggested in the book, but we’ve definitely taken some great ideas from it and it’s been really good for our family.
The first thing that caught my attention in Loving Our Kids On Purpose is how Danny Silk talks about the tools that we inherit as parents. Typically, these tools were given to us as very young children. We model what we watched our parents do, whether or not they were good tools or not-so-good tools. These are the inherited tools in our “tool belt,” as Danny Silk would say. The question that he asked in the very first chapter is, “What tools are you using, and how are they working for you?”
Steve and I feel we’ve done a pretty good job with our older daughter. She’s kind, she’s sweet, but as any parent can tell you, that doesn’t really matter. Two-year-old, three-year-old, four-year-old children, they are all kind of sassy. They start forming their own opinions about things. They want to make their own choices and decisions and they don’t want you to help them. 🙂
Some of the tools we were using worked, some of them did not. However, the tools gleaned from this book have definitely helped us deal with this new little person that’s emerging. Our daughter’s four-and-a-half now and there’s definitely a personality.
Punishment vs Discipline
Another idea Danny Silk talks about is actually like the umbrella over everything he shares. It was an eye-opener for me. He asked the question, “Why do we make certain parenting decisions? Do we make decisions based on the fear of punishment? Am I obeying because I’m afraid I’m going to get my bottom spanked or that I’m going to get yelled at, or grounded? Or am I making decisions based on the fact that I realize there are consequences for my actions?”
What we want to teach our daughters, our four-year-old especially right now, that she has the freedom of choice, but there are consequences when she makes bad choices. This was a major concept for us to implement. We want to discipline her, not punish her. We did a video on this not long ago.
The Fun / No-Fun Concept
One of the strategies we gleaned from this parenting series is the fun / no-fun concept, which can be started pretty early on, even with older babies. What we now do with our oldest daughter when she is having a meltdown, or if she’s not being very fun, is I’ll say, “Look, Honey, I’m sorry that you’re sad and having a hard time, but if you’re going to cry, whine, yell,” whatever it is that she’s doing, “I’m going to need you to go do it in your room. When you’re ready to talk to us and ready to be fun, then you can come out of your room.”
It just so happens the preschool our daughter attends is using this same basic approach. That’s great because she’s getting same approach both at school and home.
The no fun / fun approach has worked really well for us because it has helped her understand that when she isn’t being very fun, the consequence is to go to her room. If she makes a melt-down choice she is going to go to her room and do it alone.
That Time She Tried It On Us!
My husband, Steve, likes to tell a story about how after we introduced the Loving Your Kids On Purpose approach, our daughter applied it to him. He was playing with her after we had started intentionally letting her make choices and had introduced the no fun chair. We simply started with outfits to wear or what she wanted for lunch and she was really starting to understand it. While playing with her, Steve had to get up and do something during play time, and she looked at him and said, “Daddy, you have a choice. You play with me or you sit in the no fun chair!” We both thought it was funny. After we had implemented choices and the no fun chair, she threw them together and tried them out on us!
We are continuing to use this tool, although we don’t really have to do it much anymore because we can just say, “Honey, we don’t really feel like you’re being very fun right now,” and suddenly she gets more fun.
We have more ideas from Loving Our Kids On Purpose in these blog posts:
- Part 1 – This post
- Part 2 – Loving Our Kids on Purpose: Hassle Time
- Part 3 – Loving Our Kids On Purpose: Choices
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