Annie Fox's Blog...

Thoughts about teens, tweens, parenting and this adventure of living on Earth in the 21st century.

Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Get the behavior you want without being the parent you hate

December 10, 2014

My name is Annie Fox and I endorse this book!

I’m Annie Fox and I approve this message!

I read lots of parenting books, but only recommend the top notch. That means they deliver pragmatic advice in small, well-organized, chunks of digestible wisdom. No big chunks, please. Who’s got the time? It helps a lot if the book’s tone is so engaging I can imagine the author talking to me over a cup of coffee. Also, it’s a good thing if the descriptions of parent-child interactions are so spot-on I’m chuckling and misting over throughout. (Yes, a good parenting book is as likely to make me cry as it is to have me laughing and calling out to David, “Sweetie, you’ve gotta hear this!”)  Added requirement for any great parenting book: I have to learn something new. Not so easy because, as I said, I read loads of them.

For all the above reasons, I’m happy to recommend Dr. Deborah Gilboa’s latest book, Get the Behavior You Want Without Being the Parent You Hate. Before I tell you what I learned, let me tell you who needs this book – Any parent who has ever wondered if there’s a better way to get your child to:

1. Brush his/her teeth

2. Get along better with siblings

3. Quit whining about being “booooorrrrreeeed” and learn to manage their free time creatively

4. Do something you require without your constant nagging

… plus fifty other things that kids need to learn in order to be become respectful, responsible, and resilient young adults.

Dr. Gilboa, aka @AskDocG, is a practicing family physician, and a parenting expert. She’s also the mom of four boys who,  have apparently brought her to edge of sanity more than once. In the book’s introduction she admits that she has “nagged, yelled at, threatened, and guilted my children to try to get them to behave well. Not all of the time, and usually not on purpose, but, just like many parents, I’ve done all this and more. Not only do I feel really horrible about it afterwards, but (and here is the kicker) it doesn’t work.” So you see, Doc G is also honest, humble and funny. What’s not to like?

Listen to my podcast interview with Doc G.

As for what I learned from Get the Behavior You Want… it came from section 5: What you do is more important than what you feel. Think about it for a minute. Most of the time we mindful parents do our best to get our children in touch with their feelings. “How do you feel now, sweetheart?” “And how did what he said this morning make you feel?” “How do you think you’ll feel about that tomorrow?” The message to kids: how they feel is pretty much the most important thing. Doc G points out that feelings are important, but they should not be accepted as an excuse for poor behavior. Something parents do all the time!

We do it when we say, “Oh, she’s just in a bad mood.” “He’s had a hard day.” “She’s overtired.” Doc G teaches that we need to help our kids become accountable for their behavior. And we can accomplish that by empathizing with our kids’ feelings (“I understand why that made you angry….”) while still sticking with our standards of behavior (“….but biting is totally unacceptable in this family. And here’s the consequence for the doing it…”)

It’s not always easy for an unhappy, overtired child to accept responsibility for his or her actions, but parenting is all about clear standards and consistent responses, isn’t it?

Thanks, Doc G!

Try making this shift in the way you deal with unacceptable behavior from your kids and let me know how it goes.

 

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10 Tips for after school fun

September 8, 2014

Yes! Now we're cooking'

Yes! Now we’re cooking’

It’s Monday… again, back on the hamster wheel. Wasn’t it just Friday afternoon? What happened to those weekend plans to relax? Maybe go for a family bike ride? Or out for some food and a movie? And then, on late Sunday afternoon, you planned to tune into Spa Radio and fall asleep on the couch. But someone took your nap, didn’t they?  ‘Cause you sure never got it. None of the rest of those plans materialized either.

And what the hell was going on this morning? Why were the kids so slow you had to threaten them with “Do you wanna walk to school?!” three times? On top of that, the international news is… scareee.

21st century. Not easy. You’ve got stress and so do your kids.  So how about when you and the kids reconnect later today, you have some serious fun together?

First, when you lay eyes on them, make sure you avoid these joy-busters:

1. “How was school?”

2. “Did you remember to bring home your jacket?”

3. “Did you tell the teacher that you need to sit closer to the board?”

4. “Did you finish your lunch?”

5.  “How did you do on your _____ test?”

6. “Did people like your _________?”

7. “Who did you play with at recess?”

8. “Do you have a lot of homework?”

 

Instead, cheerfully announce that homework will be delayed today (Fun first – Work later.)

Then try some of these together

1. Take a neighborhood walk searching for “wildlife” (Yes, caterpillars count.)

2. Take photos of those critters and post them on FB with silly captions.

3. Find a shedding tree, then stomp on, kick, toss or roll around in its leaves.

4. Bring home some red, yellow, orange leaves and tape them to a window. (Instant stained-glass!)

5. Make popcorn. (For extra fun, try it without a lid. Go on, live a little.)

6. Tell each other something funny, surprising, or lucky that happened today.

7. Make/bake something for tonight’s dessert. (Leave some for tonight’s dessert.)

8. Read a story, then re-write the ending. Wacky is good!

9. Plan Halloween costumes. (Search for images or better yet, draw what you’re imagining.)

10. Make fun plans for next weekend. (And make them happen!)

__________

Love to hear some fun ways you reconnect with your kids after school.

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