I always thought the hardest part of having children would be the baby stage, and before they could talk. How naive I was! As soon as they develop opinions and can express those wonderful opinions that’s when the fun really starts! I was recently able to review the book Kids Don’t Come with a Manual – The Essential Guide to a Happy Family Life by Carole and Nadim Saad.
I have to confess that we are frequently struggling with a deliquent 4 year old who does not want to tidy up, who does I hear you cry..well ok but he needs to learn that Mummy should not have to tidy everything. I’ve tried reward charts, positive example (i.e doing it for him) and taking things away if he won’t do it, and ultimately nothing works..we still end up with him shouting and the toys still everywhere. Kids Don’t Come with a Manual gave me a realistic approach to dealing with my strong willed 4 year old, and once I got to grips to how to use the right technique it worked beautifully.
I learnt to use controlled options to encourage my son to get things done, he initially continued to resist but then realised he was being given two options and had some element of choice! The result, he spends a little time deciding on whether he tidys toys away before or after tea, and then he does actually get on and do it! I’ve been reminded to stay calm, and consistant, and not to hurry him to make decisions or do things for him. I do have a horrible habit of being in a hurry and being impatient.
Positively redirecting the boys has been a huge breakthrough, instead of “No we’re not having that” I am trying to not say No, and instead use more positive language or suggest that they either save for what it is they’re after or if it is sweets have them after dinner. So far this has worked well, and avoided the usual post school meltdown, the boys are eating healthier and I am not battling over the biscuit tin – win win?
The book is practical and easy to read, you can dip in and out and there is lots of explanation of the techniques from differing parenting perspectives. I suppose the most important lesson I have learnt is perhaps the most obvious, to remember not to make things a power struggle and to ensure you are very consistant as a family in your approach to handling problems! A must read for any parent or person involved in caring for children! You can get your copy from all good book stores, or direct from the Best of Parenting Website here.