Summary: “Develop simple parenting guidelines and then focus on eye-rolling repetition.”
As your children get older, the complexity of the parenting situations you will likely encounter will be inversely related to your knowledge of what to do as a parent. One strategy for dealing with this unfortunate reality is to develop one set of simple, easy-to-articulate, easy-to-understand, umbrella guidelines that you can use over, and over, and over, and over.
There is, in fact, a bit of magic in the “one-set-of-guidelines and repeat-ad-nauseam” formula. There are way too many troubling scenarios for you to cover every time your child leaves your sight. It’s a good idea to establish simple guidelines that cover a lot of ground. I call my personal guidelines the Four Cs of Parenting (thanks to my sister-in-law for teaching Robin and me the first three Cs; we added a fourth catch-all provision).
C1: Consider your choices. Although it will seem as if you have no other options at times, you will usually have multiple choices. Pause for a moment and seriously think about your choices. This step is simply about identifying your options.
C2: Consider the consequences of your choices. Take each choice to its logical and long-term consequences. Think about the best and worst possible outcomes.
C3: Choose – Considering your circumstances, make the best choice you can.
C4: Class Act, as in…always try your best to be one.
Repeat these Four Cs over-and-over-and-over-and-over-and-over-and-over…and-over until every time you say them, you get the maximum amount of eye rolling and sighing from your child. Then use this four-part template to help them analyze past and pending decisions. Basically, this process is designed to slow things down a bit for them and get their thinking-brain circuits in charge of their behavior instead of their emotional-brain circuits. The Four Cs might not cover every situation you will encounter, but they will cover most of them.
I’ve been able to influence inappropriate teenager behavior…when they were on the beach…and I was one-hundred-feet away on an overlooking balcony…by simply holding up four fingers and nodding my head from side-to-side. How’s that for good parenting?
It’s a good way for you and your child to joyfully participate in life.
Joyfully participate in life today…Chris