How many of you have caught yourself nagging your kids to do simple tasks? How many of you have children who seem to “act out” on a regular basis? How many of you have ended up yelling over your kids’ sibling rivalry behaviors? How many of you feel as though your discipline strategies just aren’t working? I’m sure most of you have experienced at least one, if not all of these scenarios. I’ll admit I’ve been in these situations, sometimes all of them within the span of 10 minutes!
A few weeks ago I came across Amy McCready’s new book “If I Have to Tell You One More Time” and was intrigued. The subtitle of her book is actually: The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids To Listen Without Nagging, Reminding Or Yelling”! But don’t let that subtitle fool you, what this book is also about is how connect to your children in a deep, meaningful way and how to speak and react to them so that you are bringing out the best in your children.
An Expert You Can Relate To
Right off the bat, I loved Amy’s style and could totally relate. She freely admits to her imperfections as a parent, but also makes it clear that she didn’t want things to continue the way they were going. She knew things were not going as well as they should and she set out to change those dynamics.
The book begins with an explanation of why many of our tried and true methods like Time Outs or 1-2-3 counting just don’t work for the long haul. But she doesn’t just tell us what not to do, she gives excellent, doable suggestions in a step by step plan for changing the way we interact with our children.
Best of all, Amy McCready explains the psychological needs behind our children’s behaviors, helps parents define their parenting style (thank you – I now have proof that I am controlling) so we can recognize how our own behaviors could be making things worse, and shows us concrete ways to bring out the best in our children and ourselves.
Getting Out Of Power Struggles
Many of you may remember some of the power struggles I have with my daughter on a regular basis (like when she’s acting like Veruka Salt or when I let my triggers get the best of me, so I was eager to try Amy’s ideas to improve our relationship.
One area I struggle with that I haven’t written about is my daughter’s obsession with food. She continues to ask for food, even when I know she can’t possibly be hungry anymore. In addition to arguing about her wanting to eat, we would get into battles about how food was placed on the plate, how it was cooked, what I was offering and on and on and on. I have tried everything from saying yes to every request, to setting up meal “rules”, all while trying not to make food an issue for her! As a result, what has happened is that she and I have a power struggle around food on a daily basis much to my chagrin. And really, I knew deep down it wasn’t about the food, but I just didn’t know how to tackle the issue. I really didn’t think anything in Amy’s book was going to help me with this problem, but boy was I surprised.
I began using the first of the tools the book recommends called Mind, Body and Soul Time. This is essentially one on one time with your children. Those who read this blog regularly know I am a huge proponent of this, but since we no longer have a nanny, I have not been able to do it the way I used to. But Mind, Body and Soul time is simply 10 minutes with each child, 2 times a day, set up as a consistent schedule your children can count on. This tiny, little, easy idea radically changed things with my daughter in just 1 day! I was amazed. Here I was thinking I spend so much quality time with them, but all my daughter needed was to know that each day she was going to get me to herself twice a day and her strategy of seeking attention from me by locking into numerous power struggles has dropped dramatically. Now when she asks for more food after she’s already finished a meal, instead of addressing that request I translate it in my mind as a need to be filled up with some attention. My offer to spend alone time is always met with a happy “yes” and the “hunger” she complained of just disappears. As Amy McCready writes in a section titled All Behavior Is Goal-Oriented:
“Your child doesn’t even know it, but she’s on a mission to achieve the feelings of belonging and significance she longs for. Misbehavior isn’t the actual problem, it’s just a symptom of a deeper issue. If we address it, the misbehavior will disappear and our children will get what they need in a more positive way”.
So, while I used a power struggle over food as an example, this idea applies to any area in which your children are misbehaving. Remembering that it’s a symptom of something else and knowing how to react when that symptom shows itself is a huge game changer. Mind Body and Soul Time is just the first of 23 easy and effective tools outlined in this book.
Help With More Subtle Calls For Attention
While the change in my interactions with our daughter may be the most obvious, I can see, too how it is changing my relationship with my son. His way of trying to get attention generally manifests itself in acting helpless or becoming overly frustrated by things he’s perfectly capable of doing. Because I get drawn into intermittent reinforcement of this behavior, it’s only gotten worse. In the past week I’ve been applying some of this book’s methods to understand the reasons behind the behavior so that I am, instead, encouraging his independence.
What Makes This book So Good?
- I love the book’s approach to encouragement for effort as opposed to simple praise.
- I love the ideas about getting your children involved in “family contributions” as opposed to “chores”.
- I love that the book is about empowering our children as opposed to controlling them.
- I love that the book spends a good deal of time explaining, psychologically, why children behave the way they do so parents can move beyond the label of “misbehavior”.
- I love how thorough and organized it is, with real tools any parent can use effectively.
- I love that it has methods that work with children ages 2 to 12 and that the author differentiates how to
- I love that there’s a whole chapter devoted to sibling rivalry!
This book has, in a very short span of time, helped me make some significant changes in our home. While I was already aware of many of the theories Amy McCready talks about, I wasn’t always confident in the way in which I applied my knowledge. And I was certainly not experiencing the same level of happy cooperation that I am now. I know it will take some work to have these methods become second nature, but I’m excited about the possibilities.
I’m Not Just Reviewing It, I’m Giving One Away
Amy McCready sent me a copy of “If I Have to Tell You One More Time” with a request to review it. Although I was under no obligation to do so, I liked it so much that I not only am recommending it, but I asked if she would consider offering one more copy as a giveaway!
So, if my review has intrigued you and you’d like to understand your children better, have more cooperation in your house and actually have some great tools in your toolbox for handling misbehavior, then leave me a comment below and let us know why you’d like a copy of the book. Make sure you leave a way for me to contact you if you win! If you’d like a double chance of winning, become a subscriber to my blog as well. I will choose a winner at random (through Random.org) on Friday, August 12th at noon and announce the winner on my Facebook page.
I look forward to your thoughts about this book. Do you think it could help with some of your own parenting issues?