TaskHuman provider, Kate Chartrand, was a recent guest on the podcast TaskHuman Talks. Hosted by provider Jamie Carroll, the podcast focused on family life and parenting. And as a mom of 5, Kate has ample experience and perspective that she was eager to share.
The two main points that she stressed were the importance of Positive Parenting and self-care.
All of these takeaways will help you navigate the ups (and downs) of family life, especially during the pandemic. Here are her four top strategies (and two bonus parenting tips!):
The premise of Positive Parenting is to look behind behaviors to address why the behaviors are happening. According to Kate, it eliminates using punishment or reward to control child behavior.
Instead, by looking for what is causing the behavior, parents gain the ability to see that their children are expressing unmet needs. While it may sound easy, Kate admits it can be difficult for parents to do.
“It requires a paradigm shift,” she says. “They’re not trying to be bad. They have unfulfilled needs.”
The two main needs? Belonging and significance.
Children want to be seen and heard. If you can help them with these needs, they will feel – and act – better.
One thing to remember, though, is that children often don’t understand that they have these needs. For them, it is the subject of the misbehavior that they feel is the problem. It’s your responsibility to determine what need isn’t being met. Or to work to consistently meet them without children acting out.
The first step to calming an overly upset child is to respond to the emotion, not the tantrum. For Kate, when you validate your child’s feelings, it lets your child realize their feelings aren’t wrong, even if how they’re acting about their feelings is.
You can say things like “I can tell you’re upset right now” or “I can tell you’re angry by how you’re talking.” Then, once your child calms down, you can address the behavior.
Another important element is to model the behavior you want to see.
When you verbalize your own emotions and show your children how to react to life, you give them the tools to use in their own lives.
“I tell things like this to myself all the time,” Kate says. “I feel anxious. I feel upset. And that alone makes me feel better.”
For Kate, mindfulness is the “pause button for parenting.” It allows you to have that space, that moment, between the unwanted behavior and your reaction. Then, you can choose to not react, but to respond.
By responding to your children, you empower them.
Children need to learn to “label their emotions,” Kate says. “They need to build a feelings vocabulary.”
When you have children with a larger gap between ages, it can be difficult to know how to treat their different needs. But Kate says they’re more alike than we may think. Yes, there are differing levels of brain development, but the needs of belonging and significance are still there.
When parents adopt a Positive Parenting style, it can bring a new worry: what if other people in my child’s life use a different disciplining style?
Schools, for example, often use a traditional form of discipline. Will school situations “undo” the work you’ve done at home?
Kate reminds us that it’s “not our role to change the system.” Kids’ adaptability lets them understand that different people discipline differently. And they change to meet those differences.
“As the parent, you really do have the greatest influence on the child,” Kate says.
Tip 1: You need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
As Kate says, “If your own needs aren’t met, then it’s so hard to meet your kids’ needs.” In whatever small ways you can support your own emotional health, you need to make them a priority.
Tip 2: You need to use the concept of kindness and firmness.
For Kate, often parents use one, but not the other. “Parents might be really nice to their kids, but they don’t have the limits set that they need,” she says. You need both. Children need to know and trust the boundaries and have the connection with their parents.
To listen to Kate’s full podcast episode, click here.
If you want more individualized parenting support and techniques, reach out to Kate for a live 1 -on- 1 video chat today.