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Regulation vs. Resolution

by Ron Huxley, LMFT

Are you trying to build or rebuild the family of your dreams? Needs some parenting tools to remodel your relationships. Let Ron Huxley and the ParentingToolbox blog help you this New Year.

Instead of figuring out your parenting resolutions, work on relationship regulation. Regulation is defined as “a set of rules maintained by an authority figure” and “a process of self-management and control.” Modern parents are plagued with homes that are out-of-control and find it impossible to enforce a set of rules in the home. This is the new season for regulation and not for a new list of tasks to increase this or decrease that behavior problem. 

Resolutions focus on the person and not the problem. Regulation is a co-relational strategy between parent and child that is based on scientific research in the fields of attachment and developmental neuroscience. 

Follow this blog as Ron Huxley gives you new tools for this new season of regulation and find more family connection. Hey, tell a friend too 🙂

The Gentle Path of Parenting

by Ron Huxley, LMFT

“Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.”

Many spiritual traditions, including Christianity, like to turn our normal way of thinking on its head. The answers we get from our faith often contradicts the truths we hear around us. If we follow this different path, it can lead to confusion and ridicule but it may also open doors to greater peace in our relationships. It might also lead to the end result we were wanting in the first place by way of an alternate path. 

The verse quoted above is from Matthew 5:5 where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount. It is also called the Beatitudes where Jesus gave his “Blessings” or instructions on how to live life with a different “attitude”. If what you have been trying with your family isn’t working perhaps it is time to try something new.

What if you stop fighting with your child to pick up his toys or get your husband to stop leaving his boots on the new carpet? What other approach might you take, a more gentle one, that would get the results you want? The arguing and nagging wasn’t working anyway. That is what your family expects from you. They don’t suspect a different, upside down tactic.

Meek doesn’t have to mean weak. You will have to have a new attitude to make this upside down thinking work. Actually, you will have to stop trying to make it work. Much of the spiritual principle of parenting referenced here is that you get something (or something new and better) when you stop wanting something or striving so hard. It’s kind of like when you tell you child not to eat his broccoli and then he wants to eat it. Unfortunately, our relationships are triggered negatively. We expect a fight and so it is a fight we get. We expect mom to yell and so we ignore or stay stuck in front of the screen until she does. The earlier warnings she gave done mean anything. Predictable and annoying. 

What would this meek approach look like if we tried that? What is the opposite of what you have been doing? What would calm look like if that was your super power? Nothing rattles mom or dad, not even forgotten chores. Ta da!

What if natural consequences took over instead? What if you get a carpet cleaning estimate and gave it to dad and then asked him to schedule it because you and your girlfriends are going out for coffee and a movie? Perhaps it sounds a bit manipulative but why should everyone else have all the fun watching you spin like an angry top. The alternative to keep doing what you have been doing and that hasn’t worked. You could give up instead and pick up dad’s shoes for him or your children’s toys and just be your families slave. No? Well, that’s try my idea of meekness. It isn’t weakness or complacency or wimpish. It is a calm, gentle approach to dealing with life’s problems and owning your own power. It is accepting that you are a powerful person and using that power in a productive, gentle manner that also respects the other powerful people in your family and fosters creativity in them to use that power respectfully toward you. 

Take some time to reflect on this and begin to brainstorm some different strategies and tactics other then a tantrum or yelling or giving up?  

Parents need to stop thinking about how to “fix” their children’s behavior problems and begin to look at how to “re-source” them instead. Stop trying to stop tantrums or talking back and start re-connecting them to the source of the problems. What is your child needing that he or she cannot get or getting that he or she doesn’t want? Decode and recode your children to add social skills, self-soothing, understanding, competence, attention, love, affection, security that is driving the behaviors in the first place. 

It is time to put away punishment and use discipline which is to disciple or teach/guide a child to appropriate behaviors. The goal is not “stop irritating mommy” today but learn to live life successfully tomorrow! You can never deal with a negative by using a negative and expect a positive outcome. 

Visualize who and what your child is becoming and connect them to that source of choice-making, problem-solving, character. 

Parenting Toolbox Dream Project: Choices

“Are you stuck. What if life presented you with a new choice every day. Make a conscious choice today about which direction you and your family are going to go…Get better outcomes and have the family you dreamed of having. Start believing that a dream family is possible.”

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Parents complain too much! It’s true and you know it. We complain about the irresponsibility of our partner, the disrespect of our children, and the way life has let us down when what we need to be doing is taking some action on our life. We opt to talk to others about our problems but we rarely do anything about them. We make others to be our problem but the truth is that people are not our problems, the problem is the problem. We need to partner with other people (like our family members) against the problem and work together as a team to make our relationships something to tell others about. 

All parents have experienced the classical power struggle with their child over a toy they want, chore they don’t want, and a long list of things you want them to do. The subject matter doesn’t matter but what does is how you keep your power intact. The word “no” is a powerful tool that most parents misuse. I would suggest using it on a 70/30 split where you say “no” 30 percent of the time. That means you are going to have to find acceptable ways to say “yes” which could be challenging. If you find enough micro-yesses in your day, your child will perceive you more as a loving gift-giver versus the big meany who says “no” all the time. Using this word more judiciously will make it more powerful. 

(via Amazon.com: 101 Parenting Tools: Building the Family of Your Dreams eBook: Ronald Huxley: Kindle Store)

Tired of time-out? Yelling and counting to three no working for you? Parents can have a whole toolbox of parenting ideas with this power packed ebook.

Parents need the right tools for the job. Get 101 Parenting Tools from family therapist Ron Huxley and his popular ParentingToolbox.com website. This 53 page ebook gives an A-Z guide on how manage the toughest parenting problems. In addition, each tool lists the age of the child and parenting style (balance of love and limits) it is best suited for…get it and start taking back control of your home today!

The essence of parenting doesn’t occur in the schedules, checklists, and daily chores. It occurs in the moment by moment encounters that happen between family members. These tiny experiences that repeat a thousand times a day offer parents a change (or a redo) to install values, model behaviors, and equip children with emotional tools for successful living. The ultimate goal of parenting is to create prosocial, proactive human beings, not compliance driven, homework completing robots. 

17 Hugs A Day

My wife and I have a joke that we tell each other and family members: It takes a minimum of 17 hugs a day to feel normal. I will confess that there is no scientific research that supports 17 hugs per day therapy…at least not yet. Nevertheless, we have come to recognize that need for touch and have adopted the idea that hugs, at least 17 is what gets us through the daily life hassles. At a recent conference on Attachment Theory, where there was some real scientific data, a presenter on PTSD- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that stated that data suggests that the little stressors of everyday living can add up to the same effects of someone who has undergone a single, major life trauma, like a robbery or death of a loved one or car accident.
We let these little incidents of life go by without any real concern. Perhaps we feel embarrassed to admit how much a poor marriage or teenager defiance or even workplace stress really does affect us. Can parents acts as prevention specialists for our children. As adults, we need 17 hugs just to maintain normal living? Our children need them to counter the cumulative effects of stress on their lives to avoid PTCS – Post Traumatic Childhood Stress.
If you don’t believe there is a such a thing, just observe children interacting on a play ground. There are some mean things thrown back and forth on the jungle gym, let me tell you! Add to that some homework pressures and the constant media bombardment of negative words and images and what child wouldn’t feel slightly traumatized? As parents, the least we can do is give some touch therapy with a few hugs a day.
John Bowlby, the great attachment theorist, stated that attachment is essential to normal development. Guardians are supposed to be our safe haven from life. Home should be a place of refuge from the constant stress of school and work. Granted, there are chores and homework to be done but how can you carve our 30 minutes a day for some connection. Parents are quick to use Time-Out, how about some Time-In? It might be good for mom and dad too. Starting today, give a few more hugs than usual. It is OK to start slow and work your way up. And yes, teenagers love them too. You just have to be a little more crafty in your approach.