Co-parenting with a “kid man”
Combining the thoughts expressed in Ms. Single Mama’s post on Larry Bilotta’s Male Maturity Scale, and the Love & Logic classes I’ve completed over the last 2 months, here are some parenting techniques I have found to work on both my 2-year-old….and her dad. Since I’m simultaneously interacting with a rule-testing, self-centered toddler, as well as a “kid man”, according to Larry Bilotta, these things have helped tremendously in finding peace in maddening situations.
- Do not show emotion when your buttons are being pushed.
- Use the statement “I will talk to you when you can speak to me in a respectful way.”
- Make your statement only once. The child/father will come to expect as many warnings, requests and chances as you give them/him.
- Give them as many choices as possible.
- When there is only one option, tell them that you always give them as many choices as possible, but in this case, you need to make the final decision.
- Expect tantrums, and remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. Cut off all communication.
- If forced to witness a tantrum, regard situation with curious silence, as if watching monkeys at the zoo. It helps to rest your chin on your knuckles, philosophically.
- Discuss child’s/father’s behavior with seasoned professionals (like the paternal grandmother/mother) to receive valuable insight.
- Ignore degrading comments from on-lookers/father’s girlfriend and focus on the task at hand.
- Bribery makes you look like a fool and will eventually work against you.
- Make the punishment the bad guy, not you. Father Example: If he doesn’t show up for visitation/parenting class/pay child support, the court will issue consequences, not you. Child Example: if she makes you late by not getting dressed in the morning, tell her she can pay back the time she spent later (with a timeout or helping you with chores).
- Give yourself a timeout if you are on the verge of an outburst.
- You cannot force the child/father to do what you want. You can make sure the rules are clear, provide them with information, let them make choices and help them understand the consequences of their actions.
Of course, love is involved in all of these techniques. I have no problem loving my child while disciplining her. As far as her dad goes, I hope one day I will be able to love him for the father he is to our daughter, not hating him for the same reason. If this goal is not possible, I hope to remain indifferent.