You come home from a long day at work. Every single light is on in the house. There are wet towels on the floor. Your kids are sitting in filth, glued to their screens, no one has lifted a finger. And you take one look at the mess, take one large breath in, and say..
Stop. Just smile. Stay CALM.
And think of a nice thing to say.
That’s right. Something to praise your little snotbags for.
That’s the advice from a parenting expert that we had on This Glorious Mess podcast this week. You can hear her rationale, here:
Melissa Hood is a lawyer-turned-parenting-educator who says the biggest mistake parents make is constantly complaining, and punishing, and that instead, we need to find ways of using “descriptive praise” and positive discipline instead.
She speaks from experience; with almost 20 years of working with frazzled parents, she says every one of them makes the mistake of going postal when they should stay practical.
Yelling and screaming and having the same rant over and over again, Melissa says, loses its power very quickly, and your frustration becomes wallpaper, background noise.
If you're a parent, this is most likely making you wince in recognition. It's probably also infuriating you.
Because what kind of super-human can remain calm in the face of a defiant teenager, or a wilful toddler?
Well, as Melissa would say: "You're the adult here."