Is There A Secret To A Perfect Child?

The other week I asked a simple question in the Parenting Posse. I asked members to fill in the blank.  When my child misbehaves, it makes me feel ______. I received answers like: exhausted, like a failure, like you’re losing control, being challenged, vague dread, overwhelmed, disrespected, angry, stressed, like you just want to sit down and cry. I get it. It sucks when our kids misbehave. Something that struck me about all of these responses was that not a single one of them was even mildly positive and they all centred around accomplishment. Not a single answer said that misbehaviour made the parents curious, confused or alarmed even. Every single response implied they’re taking on their child’s misbehaviour as a personal shortcoming. Something that you failed to do.

No matter what you do, there is no such thing as a perfect child.

Children are little humans, not robots! It doesn’t matter how perfect a parent you are. Your child is always going to misbehave at some point because that’s how children learn. That’s how children figure out what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable. That’s how children figure out where their limits are and the cultural norms of their community. By pushing boundaries and observing which ones the adults and the other people around them push back on and observing how other people react to their behaviour. All kids misbehave and that’s why you’ll never see me guaranteeing that your child won’t misbehave or that I can “fix your child” because there’s nothing wrong with your child. That’s not a promise that I can keep. 

Every child is going to misbehave when they’re stressed and the demand to use their skills, outstrips their capacity. Your child is still going to have instances of misbehaviour. It’s inevitable. So if I can’t stop your child from misbehaving, what can I do? Why am I here? Why do I show up every week and talk to you? Well, I can teach you how to spot when it’s going to happen before it happens. How to quickly diagnose why it happened and how to respond in a way that deescalates it and prevents it from happening again. Which is not the same thing as fixing it, but it’s pretty freaking close. 

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Here’s the catch.

I can only teach you those things, if you’re willing to be wrong. The secret, the trick to getting your kid to behave well, is to stop pretending that you’re some omniscient being that supposed to know everything. You can’t become the expert on your own kid, if you aren’t willing to learn about them. You need to be able to take a deep breath, take a step back and look at your child’s misbehaviour as a red flag.  To see that there is something here that your child needs to learn or that isn’t working the way that it’s supposed to and that there’s something here that’s causing them difficulty. Instead of being embarrassed by it or frustrated by it or overwhelmed by it being curious about it, wonder why this is happening. Wonder why this is so hard for you right now and what would make this easier! 

Parents are scared of being wrong because we’re scared of being judged, so I get it. We’re scared that if we show any kind of “weakness” or uncertainty that somebody is going to shame us. Or that we’ll be deemed a bad parent or unworthy of our kids, or stupid! We want people to think the best of us and the best of our kids. That’s natural, but it’s also getting in our way! Experts don’t know everything. They just know where to look for answers. I’m not a parenting expert because I know everything that there is to know about parenting children. 

I’m a parenting expert because I understand how children work and how to figure out what’s going on with them. I don’t just inherently know what’s going on but I can make an educated guess, and I know where to start looking for answers. Here’s my secret to making educated guesses, I was wrong a lot. I missed the mark a lot. And thank you to all of those parents who lent me their children, and allowed me to make mistakes with them. I tried a lot of stuff that didn’t work at all. You cannot get better at parenting your kids, if you’re not willing to screw up every now and again. You won’t be able to figure out what works, if you never figure out what doesn’t work. You can’t try new things or different approaches, if you’re so scared of being judged, that you never tell anyone what’s going on. The idea that you’ve got to figure it all out by yourself and be perfect, is keeping you stuck.

As a special end of 2020, I’ve decided to run my popular workshop, How to Raise Well-Behaved Kids Without Yelling, Shaming, or Time-Outs, live for the first time ever! Over 2000 people have taken this class this year, but I have never run it live before. I’m revealing my entire framework, the whole process that my clients go through from start to finish. I’m sharing the three mistakes that literally every single parent makes that cause your kids to misbehave worse and more frequently. The workshop also includes how to recognise when your child is most likely to misbehave and how to stop it before it even happens. And to end, I’m going to share the whole parent ability process, what we focus on, and why, and in what order, so that you can steal it and put it to work for your family. 

I work year round and I rarely take time off, but in December I shut everything extraneous down and I just focus on getting my clients ready for the new year. Because like it or not, we measure time in years and the new year is a time for change and growth. And this year in particular, it’s time to start fresh. I don’t do the MudRoom or run workshops in December. I don’t do anything other than celebrate Christmas with my family and focus on getting my clients into a good spot and raring to go for 2021. 

You are a rockstar!

Being wrong sometimes, not being perfect, using trial and error, tweaking what doesn’t work, doing more of what does, doesn’t make you any less of one. In fact, that’s what makes you a rockstar. As we go into 2021, it is my deepest wish that everyone take 2020 as a lesson in not being perfect and asking for help when we need it. It’s the only way that we’re going to survive this decade. 

I am wishing you all the happiest of holidays, whatever you celebrate or don’t, I’ll see you in 2021! Bye for now!

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About Allana

Hi, I’m Allana. I teach parents of toddlers and preschoolers why their children are misbehaving and what to do about it without yelling, shaming, or using time-outs. When not teaching parents about behaviour you can generally find me chasing around my two boys, reading cheesy romance novels, or hanging out with my own parents.

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