Are you a “Commander Mom”? What in the world is that, you say? A “Commander Mom” is a mother who barks orders at her children all day long and expects instant obedience. When she doesn’t get the obedience, she ends up angry and frustrated. She then becomes a hostage to her anger, which results in a lack of peace in her heart and her home.
I am guilty of being a “Commander Mom”. I have been more interested in obedience then I have with building a stronger relationship with my child. I’ll get into this “efficient” mode and start ordering a child to do five things at once!
A wonderful book called, “Good and Angry” by Scott Turansky andJoanne Miller, says this…
“The way you communicate an instruction is important because it often influences how the child will respond. Yelling breeds more yelling. Irritation encourages defensiveness. When you see a problem, take a moment and ask yourself whether your child is ready to receive an instruction so that the process can go well. A good parenting routine for giving instructions begins before the first words are spoken.
When a child continually demonstrates resistance to instructions, it’s time to decide whether you need to emphasize relationship more or you need to discipline for a lack of responsiveness. Training is work and some children need to learn how to demonstrate genuine responsiveness when someone wants to talk with them. If you ask your son to come help in the kitchen and before you finish your instruction he’s whining and complaining, then stop the process. You may have to postpone discipline for a time because you need to get the table set or food out in order to stay on schedule, but don’t just let it go. After dinner, talk to your son and confront him about his poor attitude. Explain the importance of cooperation and that you’re going to have him help you with dinner every evening for a while. Increasing the workload to give more opportunity to practice may be just the constructive consequence need to build a cooperative attitude.
Sometimes you must ask your children to help right away, and they need to be able to respond quickly. When you arrive home with a car full of groceries, you don’t have the luxury to consider the timing. You may have to ask your children to stop their computer game or take a break from talking on the phone to help unload the car. When the relationship is generally strong, however, interruptions are easier for children to accept.”
With this new approach, I am learning to defuse my anger. Instead of getting mad that they ignored my instruction, I let it go (they think they got away with it) and then after I intentionally think about the best consequence for their behavior, I confront them. This way, I’m not “parenting off the hip”.
“Good and Angry” goes on to say…
“ No one likes to be ambushed when coming in the door or just getting out of bed in the morning. It takes patience and self-control for me to hold my tongue and wait for a more appropriate time to launch into the jobs that my son needs to do. Timing is important. I want to let my son wake up to our relationship before I move to instruction.”
Just give you children a little warning! I’m trying this and it is producing amazing results! For instance, my child is coloring or drawing a picture. The laundry needs to be folded. Instead of yelling at them from the kitchen, “Josh, please come fold the laundry!” I go over to him, lean over and watch him draw for a while. I’ll talk with him a bit about the picture and then say, “Hey, Josh, after you get done drawing that ship, will you please come fold the laundry?” He will cheerfully say, yes! He wasn’t ambushed and he gets to put closure on a project that he is trying to accomplish.
Remember, Relationship is more important then getting the job done!
That’s all for now. I’ll be posting a series based on the book "Good and Angry". So stay tuned!