Ask Dr. Phelan: Parents Losing Their Temper
Our next question is from Frank, and it's a good one.
Q: “Dr. Phalen, we have a five-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old boy. We've been trying to do 1-2-3 Magic for many months. My wife and I have a hard time staying patient, especially after telling the kids the same things several times over. We find ourselves raising our voices. I know that we're basically having a temper tantrum ourselves, and it's counter-productive, but we still struggle. Can you offer any tips?”
W get this question quite a bit because staying calm is part of 1-2-3 Magic. It's a big part of it.
Here are several thoughts:
- Sometimes it helps take a look at how you were raised by your parents. For example, did you have a parent who was screamer? Do you tend to repeat that automatically?
- Are things worse when both parents are in the room? Sometimes it's better to have one parent handle this discipline situation and let the other parent take the next one.
- Some parents record themselves when they're talking to their kids. Later when they can hear themselves screaming, that tends to be a motivation to calm down next time.
- If you're telling the kids the same thing over and over, you may have some “start behavior” problems, and you need some routines from 1-2-3 Magic for homework, bedtime, eating, or whatever.
- Finally, give 1-2-3 Magic a chance to work. The better it works—and it does work—the more you will calm down. If you say, “That’s two,” don't say, “Do you want a timeout?” after. You say, “That’s two,” and you let them make a mistake. That's the way the program works best.
Good question, and good luck!
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