Are you struggling to discipline your child?I recently had a parent in my office who was interested in trying a new way of dealing with her son. She was feeling good about the whole process, until she asked, "So how long until he changes his behavior?"
I paused for a moment and then said, "One day longer than he thinks you will give up." She said, "I was afraid you'd say that. He knows I'll try something, and that I can get pretty impatient. Sometimes it seems like he's waiting me out!" Also Read: 5 Effective Alternatives To Spanking Your Kids
She was having the same problem many of us deal with: giving up on a new parenting idea too early. Recent books and articles have focused on the fact that it takes weeks to turn a new behavior into a habit. It takes just as long for our kids to adjust to our new behavior.
The biggest challenge, at this point, is holding the line - not giving up too soon. The "I tried that … It didn't work" thoughts can bubble up very quickly. Also Read: 2 Types Of Parents: Which One Are You?
How long should you keep trying? Days, weeks, months? Consider trying a new approach for at least three weeks. Yes, that seems like a long time, especially when your child is struggling. But unless you give it a few weeks, it probably won't work.
Here's what will be happening in your child's head when you are trying something new, from week to week:
Week One: "I guess she read a new parenting book. Here we go again. I'll just wait her out."
Week Two: "This is getting pretty tiring. She usually gives up by now. Let me wait a little longer."
Week Three: "I think she means it. She's not giving up."
Your mileage might be different, but I am suggesting three weeks so that you don't give up too early. If you know you have a tough, persistent child, it would be a good idea to increase your persistence to five or six weeks. I know it seems that is a long time, but the longer you try a proven technique, the greater the chances that it will be effective. Also Read: 3 Powerful Parenting Secrets
For more information, visit me at neilmcnerney.com
Written by Neil McNerney for YourTango.com.
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