Tuesday, September 24, 2013
YOU are the Captain of your Family's Ship!
As a parent, you are a captain of your ship. So why is this important? As with most relationships, as you get comfortable with your role as a parent you begin to establish certain patterns of behavior that your children quickly identify and respond to. Their responses usually differ from each other, hence the "he is so different from his brother!" statement. But the fact is that your children read your behavior and then respond. Kid's see you as the captain, but if you don't live up to the role, mutiny will ensue.
For instance, first thing in the morning your children turn on the tv, don't eat their breakfast, begrudgingly put on their clothes, forget to brush their teeth or hair, and when the clock is reminding you it is time to leave, you angrily begin yelling at them about everything including the fact that they don't have shoes on and haven't packed up their backpack. Sound familiar yet?
But rather than setting aside some time for personal reflection, you find yourself repeating the pattern over and over and over again. Stressful mornings that you attribute to your kids lack of effort is really not about them at all--IT IS YOUR FAULT!
Now this is not written to heap mountains of guilt onto your platter...oh no, I have walked this path before and want to share the hidden secret that will transform your mornings...you need to change your behavior.
First of all, you are the captain of the ship...so you need to regain control. Rules are made for this, so tell your children that their will be no tv or computer in the morning until they are completely ready for school--and this means all siblings are all ready. (All hands on deck to reference the captain idea). Next, don't cave. I mean you cannot cave into whining, pleading, anger, tears, whatever your crew throws at you. That is just their way of trying to regain mutiny status. And if you allow them to win, the next time you try to establish authority will be that much harder.
All good captains have procedures. So it is your job to teach your kid's what the morning routine is supposed to include. Make a poster or write it in magnets on your refrigerator--whatever works.
Make sure that they understand the rules. No tv or computer until everyone is completely ready to walk out the door. That means they have backpacks and lunches packed, shoes on feet or at least nearby and accounted for, and coats and outerwear lying at the ready. No exceptions.
And as the captain, you need to refrain from yelling. Just calmly go through the morning responding with encouragement and reminders to keep them on track, but refrain from the tv or computer reward until you inspect the troops and confirm that everything has been done to your satisfaction.
It really is as simple as that. At first your children may test your resolve, but if you remain calm and strong, this routine will help you sail smoothly into many peaceful mornings.