Guest post: If I have to tell you one more time

Amy McCready is a parent on a mission. After reaching the end of her own rope with conventional methods of discipline with her preschool-aged sons, she got serious about finding alternatives. Fast-forward a dozen years. Now she can hardly remember the last time she raised her voice to yell and she wants all parents to feel the same relief. We are grateful to have a guest post from her today sharing some useful tips from her new book: If I Have to Tell You One More Time…

It’s truly a desperate parent that utters the words, “If I have to tell you one more time…,” but we’ve certainly all been there. Which means we’ve all faced the helpless feeling that follows: now what?

Here are five tips from the book, If I Have to Tell You One More Time… you can begin using right away:

1. Give your kids the attention they need. Think of your children as having an “attention basket.” If you don’t proactively keep it stocked with positive attention, they’ll fill it with the negative attention they get from whining, clinging, acting helpless, and all the rest. Simply spending one-on-one time daily with each child, doing what they want to do, will really help cut out these frustrating misbehaviors. Chapter two of my book gives parents step-by-step instructions and helpful tips for how to incorporate this kind of positive attention into their busy days, even while managing other kids.

2. Watch the “ordering, correcting and directing!” Every time we tell our kids to remember their lunchboxes or take their elbows off the table, we set ourselves up for power struggles. Let’s face it, no one likes to be told what to do or how to do it, not even kids! So it’s no wonder they’re likely to fight back. If you can limit this type of communication, you’ll get more cooperation in general. The book has 23 tools to help you do just that.

3. Give your kids some power. Remember the attention basket? Each child, from toddlers to teens, also has a “power basket” that needs to be filled in positive ways lest we face misbehaviors like tantrums, backtalk, attitude, bedtime and mealtime battles, and more. Provide positive power to your kids by offering choices and decision-making opportunities throughout the day. To a toddler, power means choosing between a Batman and Spiderman toothbrush. To a teenager, it can be allowing him to decide which restaurant the family goes to on Saturday night.

4. Ditch the rewards. Dangling a treat in front of your kids when you want them to behave a certain way seem harmless enough, right? Unfortunately, by rewarding the desired behavior, it says loud and clear, “I have no confidence you’ll ever do (X) unless I give you a treat or reward to do it.” Plus he’ll insist on another reward next time. By giving your children rewards, you’re essentially training them to demand “what’s in it for me?” whenever they’re asked to help out or put effort into something. Numerous research studies conclude that rewards do more harm than good, but don’t worry, If I Have to Tell You One More Time teaches you with step-by-step instructions to motivate positive behavior.

5. Practice the 5 Rs of Fair & Effective Consequence. Let’s face it, consequences are sometimes required to help kids learn important lessons—but they need to be structured appropriately to be effective. To ensure that your kids really learn important lessons, the 5 Rs of Fair & Effective Consequences are a must! The first R is to REVEAL the consequence in advance. Let your kids know your rule or limit up front and clearly communicate the consequence they’ll face if they choose to push the limits. By revealing the consequence in advance, you empower your child to make the appropriate choice or experience the effects. The remaining 4 Rs are equally important and are covered in detail in the book.

More about the book:
If I Have to Tell You One More Time… The Revolutionary Program that Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling, from Amy McCready, presents a nag- and yell-free program for compassionately, yet effectively, correcting misbehavior. Simple and concise, this program offers 23 proven tools with step-by-step instructions on how to use them, when to use them and even the words to say to put an end to backtalk, tantrums, homework battles, whining, sibling rivalry and more. (Find the book on Amazon).

Help a military family:
When you purchase your copy of If I Have to Tell You One More Time… you can “pay It forward” to a deserving military family. For each book sold, Amy McCready, in partnership with Blue Star Families, will donate Positive Parenting Solutions Online training to military moms and dads who sacrifice every day to protect our country.

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Thanks again to Amy McCready for sharing these nuggets of wisdom. I long for the day when I no longer remember the last time I yelled (or repeated a simple instruction five times!). We’re excited to share another webinar from Amy at the end of August.

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RookieMoms co-founder & mom to 3 boys in Berkeley, CA. Bossy big sister and project manager turned blogger helping moms enjoy their first years of motherhood. Find me on my other site on 510families.com or hiding in my minivan eating dark chocolate.

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