There is a book that sits on my night stand: “I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids.”
I look at it. I laugh. And then I nod.
How about, “I was a really good mom before I had to start being a parent.”
Yep. That’s more like it.
You can be a cool, down-to-earth “I let my kids do anything” mom. You can be a clueless mom. You can be an overly protective mom. You can be a strict mom, you can be a perfectionist mom, or you can be the try-to-be-a-friend-mom.
I think all of us are one of those or maybe a few of them mixed together. You can pick which one you are. You probably thought of every one of your mom-friends for the others.
But the point isn’t about being a good mom. It is about knowing how to be a great parent.
Parenting is a learn-as-you-go process, and so often I catch myself being the friend-mom, the overprotective mom, the just-plain-crazy mom — and forgetting I need to be the parent.
Parents are bound to slip up from time to time. But we need to take every effort we can to not just throw our hands in the air at every tantrum, every challenge from our children.
On this note, I find myself going to the Green and Sutherlin Family Church for Love and Logic seminars. I have to keep going and keep being reminded. I have to go and listen again, learn again, and be encouraged again.
Love and logic go hand in hand. Our mommy-personality might change day-to-day, but our parenting needs to be consistent.
I encourage you to avoid throwing in the towel when you’re frustrated. Instead, really take part and study what it means to be a good parent. Let us persevere, because the end result is worth it.
Here are some of the Love and Logic nuggets that I’ve picked up and will continue to put into practice:
1. When we are angry, they are in control. There is no need to get angry; the child’s choice is her problem. Let the consequences do the yelling.
2. Express sadness for the child’s poor choice: “Bummer. We’re going to have to do [consequence] about that.” The softer your voice, the more powerful your influence.
3. Set limits and be clear about those limits.
4. Be specific about consequences. Establish these in advance and be consistent. Be ready to respond when kids test.
5. Don’t give consequences you aren’t going to follow. If you say, “Stand in time-out for two minutes,” the child needs to stand in time-out for two minutes. Consequences also don’t have to be immediate. You can say, “I’m going to take some time to think about what we’re going to do about this.”
6. Do what you say the very first time. Repetitive warnings for a consequence tell a child you don’t want to act.
7. Children should know when their behavior drains your energy. Have them clean the kitchen, carry laundry, etc.
8. Remember, the problem belongs to the child. Give choices such as, “You can choose to have fun with us or go sit in the corner by yourself and have a fit.”
9. Use timers to keep both you and your children set straight on the rules. “We will be eating dinner for the next 30 minutes. It is your choice whether you want to eat during this time or wait until breakfast. Those who are done will enjoy dessert. ”
10. Kevin Leman, author of “Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours,” writes: “We must do everything we can to encourage our children and help them see they are not loved only when they perform correctly.”
The best way to discipline — the best way to parent— is using love and logic.
Brittany Arnold is the Douglas County Moms editor and writes a monthly column, My ABC Soup, for The News-Review. She lives in Green with her husband and two daughters.