With Kids, Stuff Happens–and Thank Goodness It Does!

Posted November 19, 2009 by

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One of my main goals as a mom — and in my opinion, one of the most important qualities you can have as a parent — is to be more flexible and adaptable. Now, when I say flexible I don’t mean that you should throw rules, limits, or structure out the window. What I mean is that we all need to be open to trying new ideas and techniques when the old ones aren’t working anymore.

I have many parents tell me through our 1-on-1 Coaching service that they’re confused and overwhelmed because unexpected problems pop up in their lives. The good news is that most of the smaller issues that come up often require very minimal time and effort to resolve, and then you can move back to the behavior you’d like to see changed in your child. Let’s say there’s a core issue that you’re working on maybe it’s your child’s refusal to do homework. Now let’s say your child refuses to do chores one day after school. You may start to feel like, Here we go, another issue. But you can respond to this without making it a full blown battle. You could simply say, Well, that’s too bad, because you’re going to miss out on computer time after dinner tonight until you get those chores and your homework done. You have quickly handled this incident without using a lengthy problem-solving discussion. Your priority issue, the homework, is what will get the most attention and energy until that is mastered. Then you can move forward with the next challenge, which might be getting your child to do her chores on a regular basis.

When a big problem comes up, our tendency might be to take cover in the familiar routines that we’ve established. But just remember that straying from those routines enables us to experiment with other techniques. In fact, James Lehman says that’s an important part of the problem-solving process. He emphasizes that kids naturally like to try new things because it helps them figure out who they are. Well, I think it’s important for us to try different things, even as adults.

I also believe that while problems create an imbalance in our lives, they are also an opportunity to break away from the patterns that we get locked into. They shake everything up and force us to learn how to be flexible. Sometimes you just have to be aware that the opportunity is there so you can take advantage of it.

So in other words, stuff happens and thank goodness it does!


As a 1-on-1 Coach, Tina Wakefield coached parents on techniques from the Total Transformation, as well as Empowering Parents' other programs, for over 8 years. Tina is also a mother and stepmother.

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