Q & A's On Intentional Parenting
During my week-long Book Launch in Australia, my publisher Random House sent out a tweet to ask for questions that I could answer in a blog. What an amazing response! Thank you.
We decided to work with 3 of these questions as it represented a good spread in age group as well as issues.
I started to approach these questions by stepping into the perspective of the child. What would s/he want the parent to do?
Jenny Copp: How do you cope with a very angry 11 year old who takes his anger out on you? There is a reason for the anger but I cop the full brunt of how he is feeling, mentally and physically.
Since it has been a while since I was an 11- year-old, I asked Jett (14 yrs) and Xian (12yrs) independently what an 11 year old would be angry about, and why he would take it out on his mother. Jett felt that the anger would most likely have come from an external source and whatever it is would be perceived as relatively minor to an adult. So he felt safe to let it out to his mother. Perhaps he was beyond words and hence could only express it physically and loudly. What he would like from his mum is understanding, attention and listening – with no judgment nor solutions. “Don’t listen to my volume, listen to my words,” is what his Coach Elliott has used with Jett’s junior varsity basketball team.
My daughter Xian felt that it was best to let him vent and then give him some space to cool off, Review & Reflect and come to you once he is calmer and ready to share.
In looking at the 7R’s, it was about Respecting the 11-year-old’s viewpoint and giving him some avenue to let out his anger or frustrations. and some time to Review & Reflect.
Tristan Love: I’m having our first baby in June & have to go back to work 4 days a week in Sept. The baby will be in a combo of childcare, grandparents minding & I’m working from home 1 day. What’s your best advice in regards to setting a routine for this juggling act?
It was probably unfair to ask the kids to think about a new routine postpartum …. but I did anyway. They were surprisingly interested and did not fob me off.
Both of them suggested that the new parent ask for help from all the relevant parties affected, whether it was the childcare, grandparents, work colleagues and co-parent. Don’t so it alone.
Routines or Rules (Charter of Agreement) need to be discussed and confirmed before it can be implemented with maximum engagement by all concerned. Anything unforeseen warrants a re-negotiation or re-affirmation. Setting boundaries like these paradoxically give more freedom and less stress. Constant communications allow any Rules or Routines to be Reviewed (& Reflected upon) and Reorganised as necessary.
Megan Waymouth: What is the best way to react when my 4yo son runs away from me when out shopping etc?
Besides Jett and Xian, I took the opportunity to field this question to my audience at the Q&A session of my premiere Book Launch event at The American School of Doha Library. This being a safety issue, the general trend of responses indicated that the setting of clear boundaries was essential from the beginning. It was a process (or Routine) of being consistent about carrying out any consequences spoken of prior to the event.
One mother suggested that it should be a project of trying out these boundaries in the safety of the home first before taking the child out to the shopping centre. When one gauges that the child is ready, do a trial visit to the shops to get only a few items. The priority is to patiently pay out any consequences should the child run away. Be on alert.
Whenever they stay with you, acknowledge and positively reinforce them.
Hope these few tips will help you with your Intentional Parenting – and so get better results for you and your kids.
By Dr Yvonne Sum