When I was little, I insisted that I was a superhero and climbed up onto the living room coffee table to take a flying leap with a trusty cape on my shoulders! It didn't end well. Stitches in my chin proved that I didn't have superhero in my genetic makeup after all. My mom could have panicked and punished, reprimanded and pleaded with me to stop flying off horizontal surfaces in a single bound. Instead, she stored the coffee table away for a couple of months. A brilliant second option!
I am afraid that we have lost the common sense approach to parenting. So often we parents seek help from the professional community because our child insists on repeating the same bad behavior. When it comes right down to it, we often haven't made the most logical change to stop the unwanted behavior. It is said that the first sign of insanity is when you expect a different outcome despite the fact that you keep doing the same thing. Well, that holds true for raising children. If we approach an issue in the same way we always have, which hasn't given us the results we are looking for, then we need to alter the strategy we are using! Remove the coffee table!
If our child never makes the school bus because he always oversleeps, we need to stop trying to wake him up ourselves...stop trying to coax him out of bed in the morning until we are blue in the face! (The older they get, the more we must remind ourselves that it is not our job to get them to school on time.) If throwing water on him hasn't gotten him up and going, we need to stop what isn't working and try this: go to school to sign him in late in the office wearing pajamas and slippers, with curlers in our hair. That will assure our child makes the bus from that day forward, wouldn't you think?
If our child refuses to eat what is placed in front of him at supper, we should take it away. Let him know it will be waiting for him when he gets hungry enough to eat it. We mustn't make him a new dinner to his liking. We mustn't offer him money and a ride to McDonald's. If we want him to stop complaining about what was served for dinner, we must make sure he understands that he does not dine every night at a restaurant that offers a multiple choice menu. We will make one thing for dinner and if he turns it down, that is his decision. We will get a different outcome the next time that meal is offered. He will remember his hunger and join the family at the table with less complaint. It might take a while for the grumbles to dissipate, but they never will if we continue to cater to his wishes and give into his whining.
As parents, we have to think outside the box. We have to develop strategies that keep our children on their toes. We need to come up with ideas that keep our kids guessing. And we need to maintain a sense of humor and not be afraid of embarrassing ourselves now and then. We will be surprised at how many other parents will applaud our creative efforts at parenting. They'll imitate them and wish they had thought of our ideas themselves, before we did!