Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Parenting Education

by Jan Shoop
Today we’re starting a new series on parenting education. Our series offers simple answers to tough parenting questions about education, teenagers and childrearing.

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Today’s post came from several parent requests asking the question: 
How can I become a better parent when disciplining my child?

Stop, Look and Listen

Do you remember the words stop, look and listen? I do.

Maybe you learned it when you were in kindergarten. Maybe you learned it as a child in a song. Maybe your parents taught you those three words. As children; stop, look and listen helped us cross the street safely. We stopped before crossing, looked both ways and listened for oncoming cars. I think stop, look and listen are great reminders for all of us in any situation. As parents, there are times when we need to slow down from our busy schedules and stop, look and listen to what our children are doing or saying.  Three words to think about when your child is misbehaving. Three words to think about when your child has stopped listening. Three words to think about when you are frustrated.

Three simple words: stop, look and listen.
Stop – Stop before you react or do anything. Just stop and take a deep breath and clear your head. I have found it always better to stop before reacting to a negative or stressful situation. Sometimes just the act of stopping will calm the situation and the child. When you stop you have an opportunity to collect your thoughts and assess what is happening. Even a momentary pause before responding will allow the creative part of your brain to provide a better response.

Look – Look at your child? Are they hungry, tired, or stressed? Are they trying to gain attention or just feeling wiggly? Is your child standing still and screaming at the top of their lungs or sitting quietly with arms folded? Are they wearing a smile or a frown? Look at the room around your child. What’s happening? What type of interaction is going on?
Listen – Listen to what your child has to say, before you respond. They might have something important to tell you. Many of us react before assessing the whole situation. We never look or listen. By listening carefully we can often gain a much better understanding.

Stop, look and listen – Just three simple words that might make parenting a little bit easier.