By Amy Kossoff Smith, The Business of Motherhood
“Honey I Wrecked the Kids.”
What a FABULOUS title! I just added a new book to my Mom-Tastic bookshelf, and had the pleasure of seeing the author speak at a parent encouragement program. Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s leading parenting experts. She is the TV host of Canada’s “The Parenting Show,” the best-selling author of “Breaking the Good Mom Myth” and her recent release “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids.”
The title, “Honey I Wrecked the Kids,” is so honest, funny and catchy, and after speaking with the author, parenting expert, TV host, and of course, mom since 1994 (MS’94), I could see so much of her bubbling personality at work. We had a great conversation about the book, about parenting, and about creative ways we can all respond to the many “dances” our kids do to get our attention.
Schafer explains in the book what she calls “The 4 Crucial Cs.” Basically, these are the “dances” we do with our kids. We’ve all seen it, and we’ve all danced. They move one way; we move another. They negotiate; we engage. We know better, but in trying to “fix” things, we find ourselves trapped.
I’ll simplify based on my chat with Schafer to give you the broad strokes. Here’s what kids need, what they do if they don’t get it, and how we can solve the issues at hand:
A child needs to feel connected, like they belong. If they feel this, they won’t misbehave; otherwise, they seek attention and do the attention dance. Parent solution: “Help your child connect through lots of communication/conversations engage your child,” explained Schafer.
Kids need to feel they have some control over their lives. If not, it leads to power struggles. Bottom line, according to Schafer: “We want kids to be empowered; that’s where self-esteem comes from. If we’re slow at handing power over, they will take it from us. The solution: empower them in appropriate ways; give them choices, responsibilities.”
Kids need to feel like they count, like they can make a difference. If not, they feel discounted and may seek revenge (a tit for a tat). The solution, said Schafer: “We need to heal the hurt, learn to be a good listener. You might not have intended to hurt them, but that’s their reality.”
Kids need to believe they can handle what comes their way; if so, they feel equal, confident, hopeful and will face challenges and develop resiliency. If not, they use avoidance or give up. If you don’t feel courageous, you’ll find ways to avoid the task. The solution: learn to be encouraging parents. “We often confuse praise with encouragement, which is really an external reward. So it’s still a manipulation tactic. You need to learn the true art of becoming an encouraging parent,” said Schafer.
Editor’s Note: This is a much abbreviated version of my blog post on the book. For more details, visit The MomTini Lounge (http://momtinilounge.com/?p=324 ). Also, check out our Mom Life page for more tips and tactics to implement in your parenting at home!
Amy Kossoff Smith, Founder of The Business of Motherhood, is a nationally recognized Mompreneur who owns a Web site, www.BusinessofMotherhood.com, and blog, www.MomTiniLounge.com. Available 24/7, just like Moms, the Web sites offer parenting tips, resources, and a host of ways to manage the job of motherhood.