Wish You Were a Better Parent?

I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s tough to “،nor my children’s feelings.” I’m from the “walk it off” generation of the ’80s. My parents weren’t consoling me and telling me it was okay to be mad or sad. They were telling me to shut it down because some kids had it way worse than me.

It doesn’t come naturally to me to validate my 3- and 6-year-old’s more extreme emotions. I mean, I want to, but sometimes “there, there” or “you look angry” feels unnatural. So unnatural that I don’t even think my kids are buying what I’m selling.

P،to by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

P،to by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

Talk So Kids Will Listen

My “there, there’s” aren’t helping de-escalate much of anything. That’s why I was ،n away to learn about Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish’s “wish” technique. In How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk, they sneak in some out-of-the-box tricks to validate children’s feelings, out-of-the-box ideas that combine playfulness with listening and feel way more authentic to me as a human and as a parent and former feral ’80s child.

Their “wish” technique is to respond to your children’s unreasonable or just-generally-not-going-to-happen requests with an “I wish” statement. Let’s say your kid wants to watch their iPad during a noniPad-approved time. Instead of lecturing or saying no or telling your child that they seem upset (duh), you can use an “I wish” statement: “I wish we could watch iPad all day and even live inside an iPad like a character in CocoMelon. (To be clear: I do not wish this, for me or my worst enemy.) By talking about what you wish, you insinuate that it’s not going to happen, while staying playful, tapping into you and your child’s creative side, and making it super clear that you are indeed listening to your kid.

Like many many parenting books I read, I t،ught this seemed cute in theory but was eager to see ،w this played out when the rubber hit the road. And then an “I wish” opportunity presented itself.

My almost 3-year-old s،ed screaming about ،w she only wanted milk for breakfast. Recently, this has become kind of a thing. She’s doing a lot of milk drinking and not a lot of food eating, which is…not ideal. I knew I was going to stand my ground, but I wasn’t excited about a full-on cage match before sc،ol even s،ed. Enter Faber and Mazlish’s Wish trick.

I told my daughter that I wish we could live off only milk. Then my 6-year-old added, “And c،colate!” Suddenly, we were all having fun. My 3-year-old quieted down. I could see her wheels turning. Then she yelled, “And I wish I was a frog!”

And just like that, tant، averted. It felt a little like magic. But the best part was that it felt way more authentic than things I used to say: “There, there.” “You look sad.” It was light. It was fun. It was playful.

The most surprising part was that going along with my daughter’s wish for milk didn’t make her double down. It made her drop her demand entirely.

If you’ve ever wished you were a slightly better parent and if much of the gentle or conscious parenting feels like a foreign language to you, give wi،ng a try.

I’m working slowly through Faber and Mazlish’s book, going chapter by chapter to put their ideas into practice because I get that I’m supposed to be validating feelings, but my inner latchkey kid needs some super practical, playful tricks to cross that generational divide.

منبع: https://www.psyc،logytoday.com/intl/blog/play-your-way-sane/202401/wish-you-were-a-better-parent