Asking your kids for good behavior means telling them exactly what you want them to do—not what you don’t want.
One year ago yesterday, we ended our Caribbean cruise. I thought I should maybe start posting the rest of the pictures. This is the girls getting ready to go to the beach on Grand Cayman Island.
Despite the photo, this post has nothing to do with the beach or the cruise or anything like that. It’s a post about parenting those three adorable beach bums. Because I said I’d follow through with Project Walking into a Hug, and even though I fell off of the wagon, I’m climbing back on.
This week’s assignment is to Ask for Good Behavior. When I first read the title of this chapter, I wondered why it was necessary. I mean, what kind of parents don’t ask for good behavior? Well, as it turns out, I’m the kind of parent that doesn’t ask for good behavior.
All too often I am telling my girls NOT to do things, when I should be turning that around and telling them which things to do. So instead of “Don’t leave your backpack in the middle of the floor,” I should say, “Please hang up your backpack.” Always focusing on the action that they should be doing rather than the one that they shouldn’t.
I have been paying attention to this one for several weeks now. I think it’s pretty amazing how it helps me stay calmer and helps the girls to understand exactly what I want them to do. In the example of the backpack, if I told them not to leave it on the floor, they’d just pick it up and put it on the couch. Not what I wanted, but the backpack wasn’t on the floor, so they were trying to do what I asked. Just saying what I want them to do makes a big difference. And it’s a super easy habit to acquire, I’ve found.
But I’ll still keep working on it. The word “don’t” hasn’t been entirely eradicated from my parenting vernacular.
And now, just because I wish I were there again, instead of up here in the cold and the snow…a few more pictures of my girls at the beach on Grand Cayman.