Parenting a toddler is like getting back in shape, you have to use all your muscles and change up your workout. We all know that we need to exercise to stay fit, but sometimes we need coaching. Taking a parenting course is no different than hiring a personal trainer.
I call Chris Thompson the Toddler Whisperer. He designed Talking to Toddlers: Dealing with the Terrible Twos and Beyond for parents who want to learn how to effectively communicate with their children, diffuse tantrums, and avoid triggers that ignite conflicts. His program has been rated as the #1 Toddler Parenting Course on Clickbank.com, and it has helped numerous parents deal better with their children.
Our main issue is that our headstrong daughter defies us at every turn and we would respond with yelling which inevitably led to a meltdown. I agree with Chris that many parents overuse "no" and yell at their kids too much. I agree that while it's easier to shout at them or give in at the moment, it's not good for long-term relationship building with your child(ren). I wouldn't however agree that it's emotional laziness or lack of parental creativity that makes parents this way. I would say that we are often overtired, stressed and rushed which makes for a short fuse.
What I like most about Talking to Toddlers is that its practical. This audio parenting program is broken down into 12 tracks, about 15 minutes each in length. A homework assignment follows each lesson. This is important because so many parenting guides tell you what to do without showing you how. The first lesson is called Double Binds and Presuppositions. A double bind is psychological tool used to get someone to do what you want by creating the illusion of choice. Damon calls it tricking the kid, but I prefer to think of it as misdirection.
I first tried double binding messaging with Marlie on a school morning, a time that is usually rife with drama over breakfast, the no-TV-before-school rule, and getting ready. After she woke up I asked her if she wanted eggs or oatmeal for breakfast. She immediately started shouting that she didn't want any breakfast, she wanted to watch TV. I knew she wasn't going to be an easy convert. But I soldiered on. I then asked if she wanted to help me make hot cocoa and she agreed to that. While making the cocoa, I tried the breakfast question again and got the same "no breakfast!" I didn't press the issue and focused on the cocoa-making. When we finished she asked if she could drink her cocoa while watching TV. I placed the cocoa on the table and asked her if she wanted to put the marshmallows in the cup or if she wanted me to do it. BINGO! She forgot about the TV and eagerly climbed into the chair to add marshmallows to her cocoa. Then she asked for eggs for breakfast. Thank heavens for small victories!
The rest of the course teaches how to get what you want without saying "no," yes/no/compliance sets, the rule of consistency and commitment, the rule of reciprocity, picking your battles, reframing, state management and anchoring, embedded commands and the quotes technique, dealing with physical pain, and how to threaten punishment.
Well, Does it Work?
We've completed a quarter of the program, but I can confidently say that what we've learned and are using is working. I wouldn't call it a magic bullet. My daughter is feisty and does not acquiesce easily and her parents (especially me) are not the most patient people. So getting results has been more like a tortoise-race for us. But we'll get over the hump and get there. Plus, changing a whole family's mindset takes a significant time investment. You have to make the time to do this while juggling other obligations (i.e. work, other children to take care of). I would also say that all caregivers (both parents, grandparents, daycare providers) have to be on the same page otherwise it could undermine the whole mission.
I did find myself lapsing into old habits, but I didn't get discouraged. I just tried harder. Practice makes perfect. I made a mental note to stop and rethink when I felt the urge to yell. I also allowed myself some exceptions to break the rules such as when Marlie is running toward traffic. I am going to shout at her to stop in a loud and firm voice. I think Chris would agree that this would be an appropriate use of yelling.
Overall, I am satisfied with the results of Talking to Toddlers, and I think you would be too!
How to Get Talking to Toddlers
- Order the secure digital download at http://talkingtotoddlers.com/cb-order1 for the limited time sale price of $37. You can also order the CD format. Sign up for the FREE audio lesson and you'll also get a FREE subscription to the parenting tips newsletter
- I will be giving away the digital download version in the Back 2 School Bash Giveaway Hop August 4-10! Be sure to come back and enter!