Episode 318 Transcript

Hello, it is Rachel and welcome to episode 318 of Your Parenting Long Game. Recently, I’ve talked a lot about influence leaks, things that we do that reduce our influence with our kids. Today, I want to talk about an influence improver, an action you can take that will improve your influence and your child’s resilience and confidence.

This action that you can take to improve your influence is to teach your child how to do what you’re asking them to do. We ask our kids to do things all the time. We ask them to stop annoying their brother, to get their clothes on, to calm down, to think more positively, to get used to the fact that life isn’t fair, to stand up for themselves.

And when we ask them to do these things, we make a lot of assumptions about what they actually know how to do. So when we say to them, stop annoying your brother, we assume they know how to stop annoying their brother. And of course they should know how to stop annoying their brother, right? They’re the ones who are annoying their brother. They should know how to stop doing what they’re doing. So why wouldn’t they know how to stop?

Now I’m going to tell you why and what to do about this in just a moment, but first I want to remind you that there are resources on the show notes for this episode. There you will find a transcript of the episode, some notes about the episode, and other resources if you want to take the next steps in improving your parenting long game. You can find all of that at rachel-bailey.com/318.

Now, as I said, motivating more positive behavior is not as simple as telling a child what to do or what not to do. So going back to that example of where we’re telling someone to stop being mean to their brother, the reason they can’t just stop is that when a child is mean to their brother in the first place, they have some sort of yuck.

Maybe their yuck is that they’re bored and that’s why they’re being mean to their brother, or that they’re jealous of their brother and that’s why they’re being mean, but there’s some sort of yuck. And the reason they can’t just stop is that they haven’t mastered the ability to handle that yuck in a healthy way.

They can’t just stop annoying their brother or “be nice” because when they’re feeling Yuck… that requires a mastery of certain regulation skills. And they can’t just master those regulation skills just because we want them to.

Now, this is not an excuse. It certainly doesn’t excuse a child when they’re being mean to their brother. But it is a reason for this behavior, and it means that if we want them to do something different, we need to teach them how to do something different.

Consider this from your perspective with something that you should be able to do, something you know would be helpful, but you just haven’t mastered it yet. For example, maybe you’re someone who has a hard time setting limits. You want your children to clean their room more, but you’re not really sure how to make them clean their room more. You’re not really sure what a realistic limit is. How much should you ask them to do? What’s too little? What’s too much? How often should you ask them to clean their room?

So maybe you’re not sure exactly what a limit looks like… or you’re not sure exactly how to deal with their resistance or negativity that comes up when you set the limit. You wonder, should you punish them? Should you let them calm down? But if you let them calm down, then what should you do so that they clean their room?

So maybe you’re just not confident in the “how” of setting limits. But someone comes along and says to you, “You need to set limits for your child. It’s not good for them if you don’t.” Now you know you need to set limits. You know it’s not good for them if you don’t. But you don’t know exactly how to set those limits.

Now imagine the person who’s telling you you need to set limits, they just keep repeating themselves over and over. “You need to set that limit. I’ve told you that before. And now the fact that your kids doesn’t listen, it’s the natural consequence. I’m sorry, but there are consequences in life.” None of that helps you do better.

They’re telling you that you need to set limits, they’re telling you that the consequence is a natural consequence, but it doesn’t help you set limits because they never taught you how. And honestly, at this point you’re probably just feeling worse because they’re telling you you should do something, you know you should do that thing, but you still don’t know how.

But what if, on the other hand, someone came along and taught you exactly how to set a limit? They taught you what a realistic limit looks like. They taught you exactly what to say and do if your child resists the limits. Or, if they need to calm down, they tell you exactly what to do after they calm down to motivate them to still clean their room.

Imagine you felt confident that you had strategies that would work. Would you be more likely to set the limit? Probably yes. And how would you feel about yourself if you knew how to do exactly what they were asking you to do?

This is very similar to what’s going on for a lot of kids when we say things like “Stop annoying your brother” or “Just get your clothes on. Why do I have to remind you every morning?”

We tell our kids that they need to do these things, but they don’t know how to do these things. Often when I’m working with parents, I ask them this question: I say, “If your child were here now, and I asked them what they were supposed to do in this situation- when they needed to get ready in the morning or whatever it is you want them to do- would they know what they’re supposed to do?” And about 90 percent of the times parents say to me, “Yes, my child does know what they’re supposed to do.”

So if your child knows what they’re supposed to do, but they haven’t done it yet, chances are they don’t know how. They have some sort of yuck that they don’t know how to address or another skill that they haven’t mastered yet.

But the good news, and I’m going to be honest, this is one of my favorite parts of my job as someone who teaches parents for a living… the good news is that there’s a step by step strategy to teach a child how to do anything that they’re supposed to do.

And I personally love this so much because it helps children be more successful, but I also love it because I, myself, love a good step by step strategy. I myself feel flustered when I don’t know how to do something that someone is asking me to do. So I love teaching this to parents and I love helping parents teach this to their kids as well.

And of course, when we teach them these strategies, we increase our influence tremendously. As I mentioned, if someone is teaching you how to set limits effectively and you’re successful in that area, If another problem arises, you’re much more likely to go to and listen to that person.

Especially if that person, when they were teaching you how to set limits, they were both confident and connected. Those are the qualities of a powerful, positive influence. If they were confident and connected as they’re teaching you exactly how to do what they want you to do, that person is going to become much more of an influence. Now you can probably relate to all of this as an adult, but I actually want you to get into the shoes of a child and experience what this is like from their perspective as well.

So I’m going to tell you a story about a child named Noelle and have you get into her shoes for just a few moments to see how teaching or not teaching children how to do something really impacts them.

So, Noelle is a child who doesn’t stand up for herself around her friends and other peers. She’ll be in a group of her friends, and she’ll suggest an idea, but if her friends don’t listen to her idea, she doesn’t say anything. And Noelle had even been in situations where someone took her idea, claimed it as their own, and And Noelle still didn’t say anything. Once Noelle’s teacher graded something wrong, and when Noelle’s mom noticed that the grading was wrong, she told Noelle to let her teacher know.

She even practiced with Noelle what she should say to her teacher. But Noelle never said anything to her teacher, even though Noelle’s mom told me she wanted to stand up for herself. She wanted to be able to stand up to herself, to her friends and her teachers, but she never seemed to do it. Now, if Noelle wants to stand up for herself and she’s been told what to do, why isn’t she doing it?

It’s because she still hasn’t mastered a strategy that’s required for her to stand up for herself. So she clearly knows she’s supposed to stand up for herself. She wants to stand up for herself and she knows what to say because her mother told her what to say. But in the moment when she knows she’s supposed to say something, she gets so nervous and uncomfortable she just can’t do it.

She hasn’t mastered the skill yet to overcome that nervousness. Many children who struggle with nerves and anxiety know what they’re supposed to do, but they haven’t mastered the skill to overcome that feeling inside so they don’t do what they’re supposed to do. They need help.

So be Noelle for a moment and imagine if your mom doesn’t recognize any of this. Because most parents don’t recognize that their kids need skills. So imagine your mom doesn’t recognize this. And your mom instead feels very frustrated and worried when you don’t stand up for yourself. And because you, like Noelle, are a sensitive child, you feel that feeling. You feel that your mother is getting frustrated and worried that you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do.

How likely are you going to be to stand up to your teacher the next time or to someone else the next time? Or are you just going to be more nervous the next time? And how are you going to feel about your mom when she isn’t teaching you what to do? She’s just telling you you should do that over and over and she’s getting frustrated and worried when you’re not.

But imagine if you are Noelle, your mom does recognize that you need strategies. Imagine she teaches you a step by step process to calm your body. Or a step by step process to speak even when your body isn’t calm. Imagine she has you practice that situation multiple times, even in scenarios that make you a little bit nervous, but not as nervous as when you have to stand up to your teacher.

But imagine you practice this over and over and you know how to do this. It’s now on autopilot for you. How much more likely now are you going to stand up for yourself when you knew how to do it and you’ve practiced this strategy? How is it going to make you feel about yourself? And how is it going to make you feel about your mom?

Chances are this is going to improve the likelihood that you’re going to change your behavior, it’s going to make you feel better about yourself, and it’s going to make you feel better about your parents.

Now, think about this, too, for a child who’s mean to their sibling. Remember, that was the first example I gave in the beginning of the episode. Imagine what it’s like if you, as a parent, really saw what was going on for your child. That they were bothering their sibling because they were either bored or maybe jealous of their sibling. And what if, instead of saying, stop bothering your brother, You help them realize their need for understimulation or boredom, or you help them realize their yuck feelings and taught them how to deal with their boredom and their yuck feelings.

How much more likely would they be to stop bothering their brother? How would that child feel about themselves and how would they feel about you? Again, one of my favorite things to do when I work with parents is to help you shift from Band Aid parenting, where you’re just repeating the same thing over and over, you’re just trying to change behavior on the surface… and shift to Long Game parenting, where you’re seeing what’s really going on beneath your child’s behavior and meeting their needs by showing them how to do what you’re asking them to do using specific strategies. I love seeing how parents feel better about themselves when they see their children and meet their children’s needs.

And I love the stories that parents relay to me when they’re giving their kids what they need to be successful. Now, if learning to see your child, to see what’s beneath their behavior, and giving them what they need to be successful appeals to you, you’re going to love the new program that I’m creating that’s going to begin later this summer.

So if you want more details, I do have a link on my show notes where you can set up a call to discuss with me why you might want to see your child and meet their needs- what’s going on for you and how this program may help. That link is going to be on the show notes at rachel-bailey.com/318.

There truly is a consequence if we’re not teaching our kids how to do what we’re asking. What happens is they stay stuck. Just like you’re tired of your child doing the same thing over and over, they’re tired of hearing the same things over and over that you’re telling them or requesting of them. And if you don’t know how to get unstuck from this pattern, they certainly don’t.

And there’s another consequence if you’re not teaching your child how to do what you’re asking them to do. They’re gonna feel bad about themselves. They don’t know that they’re missing strategies. They just assume there’s something wrong with them.

And of course, they’re also gonna feel bad about us. We’re constantly telling them to do things, we’re making these withdrawals where we’re nagging them and reminding them what they can and can’t do. And when most of our time is spent in this withdrawal state, instead of helping them do better, our relationship is going to decline.

But on the other hand, when we just tell them how to do what we’re asking, things go so much better. They know how to feel and act better. They’re more resilient and they’re more confident. They feel better about themselves when they can do what they’re asked to do. And they feel better about us. They know we have their back instead of always being critical.

That is Long Game parenting.

Now, if you’re not sure how to see your child and teach them what they need, reach out and we can talk about your situation.

We can also talk about how I can help you. There will be a link to a call with me in the show notes and links to other resources that may support you in your long game journey. Find that at rachel-bailey.com/318. Thanks for listening and I’ll see you again soon.

Summary of this episode: https://rachelbailey68580.activehosted.com/f/195

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