James Lehman was a genius, in my opinion.
Formerly a homeless, drug-taking ex-con, he transformed his life and became a social worker working with troubled youth in residential treatment centers.
He talked the talk and he’d certainly walked the walk.
When I was in the depths of despair over my son’s extreme behavior, I would walk over to my fridge where I’d posted his wisdom.
I would review the points, considering that I may have handled this latest situation poorly, but I had hope with this list that I would do better next time.
I’d forgotten about these words – James Lehman is that good I don’t need it anymore – but I came across the list when I was cleaning out some drawers.
I think 1-2-3-Magic is great for little kids but for older ones a different approach is often necessary. James Lehman worked with young kids all the way through teenagers. My kids responded well to his approach at age 8 so I thought I’d share the list with you.
You will notice that several points end with walking away. I can’t tell you what an eye-opener that was to me. Don’t engage, disconnect, walk away. Miracles occurred when I did that.
James Lehman called them ‘One Minute Transformations’ but I call them –
10 Parenting Tips Every Parent Should Know
1. Assume control. Directions are not requests. Use a frank, business-like tone. And walk away. “Where are you supposed to be going? Go there.” What are you supposed to be doing? Do it.”
2. Disconnect. Stop the show – walk away, hang up the phone, stop the car, leave the store. “Don’t talk to me that way, I don’t like it.”
3. Script it for next time. Use your bad experience to inform your next experience. Remind them what will happen the next time you get in a similar situation. Plan it out. “We are going to go to the store, it will take ten minutes and we will calmly and patiently gather our groceries and pay for them, then leave.”
4. No speeches. When a consequence for poor behavior is dished out, be like a cop stopping a driver for a traffic offence. No explanations, rationalizations, etc.
5. Focus on the behavior. State the behavior you want changing. “I want you to stop hitting your brother.”
6. Halt overstimulation. Remove stimulation when handling poor behavior. Send siblings to their own room. Send friends home. Don’t argue in front of a crowd. Turn off TV/games. Timeouts are to remove stimulation and calm the situation down, they are not a punishment on their own.
7. Use strategic recognition and affection. “You did a good job with completing your homework. Now let’s talk about pushing.” When a child is doing an activity, leave him to it. Check back occasionally. Ask if you can get them anything. Walk away.
8. Disclose the responsibility for her behavior to your child. ‘I can’t help you when you’re blaming me.” It’s impossible to talk to you when you’re being rude to me.” This clarifies to your child whose problem it is and shows that the parent isn’t responsible for fixing the problem.
9. Be composed. Parents should role model handling anger. Take time for everyone to calm down before handling the situation. “You need to calm down and then we’ll talk about it.
10. Accept bad days and bad moods. “You seem to be in a bad mood. Let’s take 10 minutes and talk about it then. Or “You seem to be having a hard time right now. Let’s start over in ten minutes.” But still (and these may be my words ;-)) “I know you had a hard day but don’t take it out on me.”
Do you have parenting tips to quickly deal with a bad situation? Let us know in the comments!
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