photo credit: John Kovacich on Unsplash
“I believe children should obey their parents,” a dad said to me.
“My son needs to respect authority!”
“Ahh, so that’s why Dad hasn’t made the shift to calm parenting. He believes the principles of the Mad to Glad Blueprint are too soft,” I thought to myself.
Anyone who has experienced parent coaching with me knows that I stay true to positive relationship principles. I don’t condone a harsh, authoritative approach or a wishy-washy, permissive parenting style.
Brain science tells us that children’s mood and behavior reflect the people they’re around the most. And if you have a strong willed – to – intense kid they need an “I listen to you AND you listen to me” approach.
Parents who believe in “established power dynamics” can attain this with a combination of three principles: modeling calm (persistently!), defining 3-4 behavior rules along with a positive discipline protocol, and emotion coaching to acknowledge and guide children in processing big feelings.
Together, these strategies allow a parent to claim authority AND for children to be heard. (Tip: the most common feelings intense kids need acknowledged are when things feel “unfair,” “frustrating,” or “annoying” to them.)
With parent coaching, parents have a space to focus on their own behavior and the ramifications of it, thus allowing them to parent more intentionally.
“At first, I felt de-weaponized when you told me to stay calm and kind,” Dad said, “but now it’s paying off. My son hasn’t gotten physical with me for two weeks in a row!”
To reference the Good Book (Colossians 3:20-21), “Children obey your parents in everything,” AND “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”
Honor thy father and mother…? Yes, parents, AND honor thy children’s emotional needs for positive connection.
P.S. Want professional training to learn what works for intense kids and their families so you can make an even bigger difference? Check out our full-day “Behavior Bootcamp” training for organizations and schools here.
Continuing education, advanced training, and parent coach certification for professionals who support intense kids and their families. View my mental health Ted Talk on helping families heal from stress here.
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