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Being Reasonable–A New Parenting Technique?

30 Jun

As any parent will tell you, raising kids is a pretty precarious job. Too many experts give too much advice about too many things, and it’s hard to understand which techniques will work and which won’t. Which is why I’ve come up with a no-frills, conflict-reducing theory about parenting: Be reasonable.

It all started when I had my first child, and I was told I had to be “rigid.” If she breaks a rule? No ice cream for a year! (and I had to actually stick to that). Break another rule? No sleepovers for six months!

Then, I was told I had to be lenient and let my children find their way. Break a rule? We’ll talk about it and try harder next time. Break another rule? Let’s chat about your feelings.reason

I KNEW there had to be an “in-between,” but no one was out there telling me how.

And, that’s how I came up with the not-so-revolutionary idea of being reasonable.

Now, if my child breaks a rule? No ice cream for a week, and we’ll try better next time. Break another rule? No sleepovers for two weeks, and then, we’ll have your best friend come over for the night.

I’m learning that being reasonable makes the point, but also doesn’t go too far. And it reduces the amount of conflict I have with my children. It’s a win-win!

With grown-ups, I’m learning that being reasonable works too. If someone misplaces a comma, it’s OK–we all make mistakes. If someone forgets to turn in an important assignment, we need to address the problem immediately.

What I’ve found as a therapist and a Mom is that many problems arise because we have a hard time finding the middle ground between rigid thinking and too much leniency. But, deep inside all of us, we have the capacity for reason.

So, use it!

Britt

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