Is your to-do list a mile long?
It’s a list you’re keeping in your head, but it may go something like this:
If you’re laughing right now, it’s probably because you can relate.
But it’s not really funny, is it?
Whether you’re a working parent or a stay-at-home-parent, your to-do list is probably so long that it’s stealing the joy of parenthood from you.
You may be tired, cranky, and overwhelmed most of the time. Your kids test your patience a lot. You feel like you’re barely keeping it together most days, and when your child misbehaves or acts stubborn, it’s all you can do to keep from losing it.
You just want your children to appreciate everything you’re doing for them and to be a little more cooperative and a lot less whiny!
Is that too much to ask?
A busy household can feel even more chaotic when your children misbehave, whine, and are uncooperative. The more you put on your to-do list, it seems, the less gets done.
Maybe you make a healthy dinner and they refuse to eat it, so you bribe them with dessert, threaten them with a time-out, or cook them mac n’ cheese and hot dogs to get them to eat something. That means that dinner will be late and you’ll be in the kitchen twice as long.
Your child fights over a favorite toy with her sibling and you promise to get her a new toy tomorrow to get them both to stop screaming and crying. Put that shopping trip on the to-do list!
Your son keeps procrastinating his homework so you bribe him with a later bedtime if he just buckles down and gets it done now. A later bedtime for him means less time to yourself tonight to do the things you wanted to do.
The more tasks on your plate, the more chaotic it seems to get around the house, and the more you have to do to keep things together. It’s a vicious cycle.
You wish your children would simply do as they’re told, eat their dinner, help clean up, get their homework done, and go to bed on time. It would make everything run smoother and would make your life as a parent more enjoyable.
Instead, your children make more work for you because you have to get increasingly creative to find new ways to bribe or punish them to cooperate.
Will giving them stickers whenever they get their chores done help? It might for a while, but that means you have to buy and put up the sticker board and remember to manage it. And sticker charts rarely work in the long-term, once the novelty has worn off.
Will taking away their favorite toy be an effective punishment for pulling the dog’s tail? Maybe, except now they want you to help them find a different toy they’ve misplaced.
And so it goes…
What if the reason your household is getting more chaotic has less to do with your child’s behavior and more to do with the relationship you have with your child?
That may sound completely bonkers to you and you feel like it won’t work, but trust me, it can. In fact, I’ve seen it work for countless parents who have come to me for help.
Let me explain.
Our children are wired to bond with us from the minute they’re born. For the first six years of a child’s life, they form a connection with us unlike any other they’ll have for the rest of their lives.
They trust us, they love us unconditionally, they want to be around us, they thrive and flourish because of our care and guidance.
At least, that’s the ideal.
This bond is forged through what child psychologists call “attachment.” It is the way you relate to your child and your child relates to you. Having a healthy bond with your child means you are not only physically present, but emotionally present as well.
Your bond with your child can be deficient if even one of the 6 Stages of Attachment—identified by psychologist Gordon Neufeld—is lacking.
Your child won’t be able to tell you why he’s feeling disconnected from you, and you may not be consciously aware of what’s missing, either. Your child may feel cranky, rebellious, angry, and apathetic about doing what you want him to do. You may feel like you’re not “getting through” to him or that he doesn’t respect you.
Maybe he talks back and refuses to put his toys away, or he defies you on purpose and walks away regardless of the punishment you threaten.
Or maybe he’ll start whining or get into spats with his brother the minute you turn your attention away from them to make a phone call.
Or he’ll tell you he did his homework and brushed his teeth when he hasn’t.
All these misbehaviors may be indicators that there’s something amiss in your bond with your child when your child isn’t motivated to WANT to please you.
He is defiant, dishonest, and rebellious because he wants something from you that he can’t consciously verbalize. What he wants is to feel closely and happily bonded with you.
Sadly, he’s trying to get your attention in counterproductive ways that only serve to corrode your relationship further.
That’s why stepping back and addressing the underlying cause of the child’s misbehavior is so critical. And that means making sure your bond with him is solid.
When you are strongly attached, your child feels that you have his back and that he can count on you when he needs the safety and stability of a strong leader. He knows in his heart that you love and accept him no matter what, and that he doesn’t need to perform or behave a certain way in order for you to be a steady, loving presence in his life.
He trusts you with his innermost thoughts and feelings (age-appropriate) and comes to you for feedback and advice on a regular basis, instead of keeping things welled up inside or turning to his peers for advice.
Because you have this remarkable connection, he will WANT to please you. He won’t be desperately seeking your attention through misbehavior because he feels your bond even when you’re not in the same room.
THIS IS KEY: If you’re so busy focusing on your to-do list, and don’t have the time to create that strong bond with your child, you WILL start to experience even more stress in your household because your child won’t feel strongly connected to you. When he doesn’t feel connected, he’s less likely to be cooperative and happy.
Instead, he’ll do things in desperation to get that attachment—like whine, break things, act out, or purposely ignore you.
He doesn’t know that doing these things only makes things more challenging between you and him. He doesn’t have the tools or maturity to know what to do, obviously, so he does the only thing his developing brain tells him to do, which is anything to get your attention or to gain some level of control.
Here’s the thing: if you’re able to let certain things on your to-do list go, and make the time (even just 10 minutes a day) to nurture these stages of attachment with him—especially the ones in which you’re lacking—in time you’ll see him relax and trust you more.
He’ll be sweeter and you’ll feel lighter. Stress will lessen and you’ll smile and laugh more. So will he.
You’ll enjoy the time you spend with your child, because without the yelling, bribes and bargains, it’ll be more quality time.
And parenting will become the joy it’s meant to be.
In my video program, Parenting Without Battles, Bargains or Bribes, you’ll learn the principles behind attachment and why it’s so critical for parents and caregivers to nurture all six stages.
I’ll reveal how to tell if you’re lacking in attachment, and what exactly to do or say in order to strengthen and heal your relationship with your child.
If things are acetic between you, meaning that your child is not listening, talking back, saying they “hate you,” or flat-out doing the opposite of what you ask, you’ll know what to do to neutralize that and bring more sweetness and agreeableness into your relationship immediately.
In this game-changing program, you’ll also learn:
You’ll see me working with real parents, discussing real problems and challenges and their relief at discovering the solutions that make all the difference with their child.
Start watching in mere minutes and start using the techniques to heal your bond today. You’ll have a full week to decide if it’s right for you and want to keep it, or I’ll give you your money back.Experience More Joy in Parenting This Way
P.S. In my video program you’ll also learn why children so often RESIST what you ask them to do. The hidden reason is quite simple, actually, and when you hear it you’ll get a big “AHA!” The new approach you’ll learn will work wonders on getting them to listen and cooperate.Discover the Reason Children Resist and What To Do To Get Them to Cooperate